CENTRAL Victoria’s contingent for next month’s London Olympics has grown to five.
Basketballers Kristi Harrower and Matthew Dellavedova and rower Hannah Every-Hall were officially named in the Australian Olympic squad yesterday.
They join cyclist Glenn O’Shea and badminton ace Glen Warfe as central Victorian representatives.
While Dellavedova and Every-Hall will now prepare for their firsy Olympics, Harrower joins elite company as a four-time Olympian.
“Being a four-time Olympian is not something I’ve thought about,’’ the 37-year-old said yesterday.
“I don’t think that will really hit me until we get to London and the Games begin.”
A question mark has lingered over Harrower’s fitness in the past two years.
Ankle, knee and Achilles injuries threatened to derail her Olympic campaign.
“I’m lucky I’ve had two super fitness coaches with the Opals this year,’’ Harrower said.
“I’ve been on a one day on, one day off program and it’s worked well.
“My body is holding together and I feel pretty good.
“The past two years I’ve really struggled with the Spirit because of the injuries, but about 12 months ago I decided to have a real crack at the Olympics.
“I’ve worked hard to get the body right and it’s paid off.”
Harrower has three Olympic silver medals to her name and she’d dearly love to add another medal at her final Games.
“We’ve got a great mix of senior players and some up-and-comers as well. For us to win a medal in London we need to make sure we play well as a team,” she said.
Harrower and the Opals start a three-game series against Brazil tomorrow.
Game two is in Bendigo on Tuesday night. It will be Harrower’s 200th game for the Opals.
Opals squad for Olympic Games: Lauren Jackson, Kristi Harrower, Belinda Snell, Jennifer Screen, Sam Richards, Rachel Jarry, Liz Cambage, Kathleen Macleod, Jenna O’Hea, Abby Bishop, Suzy Batkovic, Laura Hodges.
Maryborough’s Matthew Dellavedova is at the other end of the scale to Harrower.
The 21-year-old is the youngest player on the Boomers squad.
Dellavedova burst into Olympics contention on the back of a stunning season with St Mary’s in the United States college competition.
He’s also more than held his own for the Boomers in last year’s Oceania Championship series against New Zealand and last week’s 3-0 series win over China.
Dellavedova will be the back-up point guard behind San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills.
Boomers squad for London: Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles, Adam Gibson, Peter Crawford, Brad Newley, David Barlow, David Andersen, Matt Nielsen, Mark Worthington, Aleks Maric, Aron Baynes.
Every-Hall’s selection in the lightweigth double sculls alongside Bronwen Watson was ratified yesterday.
Every-Hall’s story to achieve her Olympic dream is inspiring.
Now 34, Every-Hall was forced out of rowing for a year in 2002 because of an ovary disorder, but returned to the sport and was on track to make her mark at the Athens Olympic trials when she was floored by an anaphylactic reaction during her first time-trial.
She gave up the sport to start a family, but after the birth of her second child decided to make a comeback with the London Olympics her long-term goal.
Along the way Every-Hall won gold in the lightweight double sculls with Alice McNamara at the 2011 World Cup and finished fifth at the 2010 and 2011 World Championships.
Harrower and Every-Hall are dual winners in the bankmecu-backed Bendigo Advertiser-WIN Television Sports Star of the Year award.