AT the age of eight, Shantel Miskin-Ripia began to learn to swim. Twelve months earlier, she couldn’t read or write. Now the 12-year-old is a rising swimming star at Broome and leading the way in the classroom. Shantel was one of a number of exciting prospects from Broome Barracudas to compete in the Pilbara championships at Exmouth in early December, coming home with nine gold medals. Now she is off to the WA country championships, the Northern Territory championships and the WA junior championships in April.
VICTORIA has named an inaugural women’s Imparja Cup squad to compete at next month’s national tournament in Alice Springs. Making Victorian Indigenous cricket history, the squad of 11 will be the first women’s team to represent the state at the Cup. Former Commonwealth Bank VicSpirit player Renee Melton headlines the line-up, being named co-captain with veteran Fiona Hale.
DANIEL Geale says the desire for more world title glory still burns brightly after announcing his first fight since losing the International Boxing Federation (IBF) middleweight title to Darren Barker last August. Geale earlier this month announced he would fight former sparring partner Garth Wood at Sydney’s Hordern Pavillion on February 19. The fight is the former two-times world champion’s first since his split points loss to England’s Barker. The bout is seen as a stepping stone to a possible showdown with Kazakstan’s dual world champion Gennady Golovkin.
JOHN Maynard – born on the track and the son of a jockey – is in the ideal position to capture the history of the achievements of the Indigenous men and women in the sport of kings – thoroughbred horse racing. A storyteller, raconteur and engaging speaker, Maynard knew the narrative of the Aboriginal jockeys needed to be told. His father Merv had a successful career that spanned six decades (1949-1994). In Aborigines and the Sport of Kings, Maynard combines his skills as a researcher and historian with his profound knowledge of the Australian racing industry.
THIS year’s Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne was a huge learning curve for rising Aboriginal star Ashleigh Barty. The Queensland teenager was bundled out of the women’s singles in the opening round – beaten 6-2 6-1 by none other than the world’s best women’s player – Serena Williams. Barty’s bid for a second successive appearance in the women’s doubles final came to an unexpected halt when she and partner Casey Dellacqua were shock second-round losers.
THE Kookaburras have been recrowned the world’s number one men’s hockey team despite missing out on the bronze medal in controversial circumstances at the World League finals in Delhi on January 18. Australia missed out on the bronze medal in a 2-1 defeat to England with the match ending in controversial circumstances when a last-minute Australian equaliser was overturned after initially being awarded. Northern Territory Aboriginal star Joel Carroll made his 96th appearance for Australia in the game against England.
AUSTRALIA’S five Indigenous players in rugby league’s World Cup final against New Zealand at Old Trafford, Manchester, on November 30 were simply magnificent. Australia won 34-2. Greg Bird, Sam Thaiday and Andrew Fafita were part of a hungry forward pack that didn’t let the New Zealanders into the match. Riding on the back of that were the brilliant Australian backs, led by man-of-the-match Johnathan Thurston and well supported by centre Greg Inglis.
JUNIOR Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty has bolstered her chances in next year’s Australian Open with a wildcard entry into the Hobart International. The 17-year-old Australian will join Samantha Stosur at the WTA tournament in Tasmania in January. The field includes former world No 1 Venus Williams and Hobart International defending champion Elena Vesnina. Since taking the junior Wimbledon singles title in 2011, Barty has been a grand slam doubles finalist three times. She made her Australian Open women’s singles debut this year.
THE date has been set for the launch of Anthony Mundine’s bold quest to fight superstar Floyd Mayweather by the end of 2014 – all he needs is an opponent. Still buzzing from his recent TKO win over Shane Mosley, Mundine suggested he could emulate Muhammad Ali and set up a ‘Thrilla in Manila’ against Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao by late 2014. But Mundine had no names when asked about his opponent for the first step in his audacious plan – a January 29 fight in Brisbane.
ELLA Sevens rugby union came to Alice Springs last week, when Anzac Oval hosted the national Indigenous schoolgirls 7s. The schoolgirls were mentored by high-performance staff and athletes from Australian Rugby Union’s Rugby Sevens program, including women’s sevens coach Tim Walsh and national Indigenous women’s sevens coach Selena Tranter. Selected from 130 nominations across Australia, the 55 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander schoolgirls aged between 15 and 17 took part in rugby sevens and personal development programs.