Indigenous basketball training sessions underway
BENDIGO will host the Victorian Indigenous Community Basketball League in February next year.
In preparation for the event, training sessions tipped off in mid-November with 36 participants at Girton Grammar.
A second session was held last Saturday at Bendigo Stadium and third session will take place next Saturday.
In its second year, the ICBL is a league for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander basketballers developed by Indigenous Basketball Australia, an initiative founded by Team Mills, a project of former NBA and Boomers’ hero player Patty Mills.
Regional coordinator for IBA Victoria, Luke Murray, said the focus of the program is on participation, culture, nutrition for young athletes.
“It’s a great program for kids to build confidence, grow their basketball skills, connect with other kids,” he said.
“We’ve had some pretty strong lockdowns in Victoria that are world famous so it’s great to get kids together face-to-face, they’ve missed it, parents have missed it so it’s a great opportunity.
“One of the most important things is to get kids moving again, it’s going to be a wonderful program here in Bendigo.”
Mr Murray said Patty Mills is an inspiration to young children across Australia, especially after his Olympic heroics helping lead the Boomers to their first every Olympic medal.
“Patty’s story is pretty inspiring for the fact that it doesn’t matter where you come from, how small the place is, if you work hard, set yourself goals and take opportunities and you can get there,” he said.
“Hopefully he’s inspired not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but the whole country.”
The official league launches in February, with teams playing each other over four weekends and eight rounds.
Mr Murray, a proud Wamba Wamba and Yorta Yorta man now living on Dja Dja Wurrung country, said there is an opportunity for Bendigo to become a major regional centre for young Indigenous basketballers.