Shooting star is soaring

Nyadiew Puoch is a rising star of Victorian basketball. Pictures: COURTESY OF BASKETBALL VICTORIA

By Sports Editor Russell Bennett

Despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and its associated challenges, Basketball Australia has announced the most recent group of athletes to receive scholarships to the Centre of Excellence at the world-renowned Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

Among them is Cranbourne West product Nyadiew Puoch, who plays at Dandenong.

She was selected in the Victorian High Performance Program for 2019-20, and was also chosen earlier this year to represent the Vic Metro under-18 girls team.

She’d previously been selected in the Vic Metro under-16 girls side, which claimed the gold medal at the 2019 Australian Junior Championships in Darwin.

Puoch was announced as a new Centre of Excellence scholarship athlete for 2020, and will start once she’s given the approval to travel from Victoria.

The Centre of Excellence brings together the best young basketballers from around Australia to live and train together in a high-performance training environment – with the assistance of elite coaches.

Puoch is expected to join the program in Term 4, while South Australian Isobel Borlase is expected to join in late January when the program starts up in 2021.

Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence women’s head coach Kristen Veal spoke about the opportunity awaiting Puoch and Borlase.

“Despite these uncertain and challenging times for many, we are fortunate to be able to provide two very promising athletes the amazing opportunity of a Centre of Excellence scholarship at the world-renowned Australian Institute of Sport,” she said.

“Through extensive talent identification pre-Covid, we are excited about Nyadiew and Isobel’s international athleticism, skillsets, and enthusiasm for the game – which have clearly shown through in their high performance programs, at National Championships, and at Australian camps.

“We believe they will embrace and excel in the daily training environment.

“We look forward to both young ladies joining the current cohort and believe they will be great additions to the group and program.”

Another Dandenong Rangers product – Emily Sewell – has also received a six-month extension to her own Centre of Excellence scholarship.

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