Representing Australia on an international level is a dream for many athletes.
However, for junior Bendigo basketball players Piper Dunlop and Dyson Daniels, it’s now reality.
The pair played on the girls and boys Australian teams which dominated the FIBA under-15 Oceania Championships.
“Once I was handed a uniform the dream became true,” Dunlop said. “Then once I stepped out onto the court, there was no better place to be.”
The girls progressed through the tournament undefeated, and were awarded the gold medal after defeating New Zealand in the final 110-30.
“All the girls on the team have the same dream and level of determination as myself and it was such a great experience to have played with like-minded people,” Dunlop said.
Daniels also cherished the opportunity to represent Australia, recalling how proud he felt when he put on the green and gold jersey.
“It was definitely a great experience to be able to represent my country and to play against people from other countries,” Daniels said.
The boys won a hard-fought grand final clash against New Zealand, with seconds left on the clock they took the lead 61-58 and were awarded the gold medal.
“We could tell every game that we were getting much better and building a lot of chemistry on the court together as a team,” Daniels said.
“It’s great to know both Piper and myself brought gold medals back to Bendigo.”
Bendigo Stadium general manager of sport Ben Harvey has been fortunate to have watched both players rise up through the sport.
“Piper and Dyson put in a lot of hardwork and we couldn’t be prouder of what they have achieved,” Harvey said.
“This shows that if you work hard, dream big and do all the right things, the pathways to great things will be right on your doorstep.
“Both athletes brought something special to the green and gold and they contributed to an outstanding tournament.”
Both Dunlop and Daniels praised the invaluable support and experience they had gained from playing in junior tournaments in Bendigo.
They will both attend future selection camps to be chosen for the Australian teams at the FIBA Under-16 Asian Championships.
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