NUMBAA’S Hannah Ryan and her Blackmore’s University of NSW women’s basketball team will have the opportunity of a lifetime when they travel to Taiwan, to play in the prestigious 2018 Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Cup.
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The 22-year-old medicine student will captain her team, which will be accompanied by the UNSW men’s team, will take on seven other University sides from the United States, Europe and Asia from July 1-8.
“Each year, they invite eight Universities from around the world, based on merit, and we were the first Australian team to be invited after our men's team won gold at the 2017 Australian University Games,” Ryan said.
“We're excited to compete at the BLIA Cup because it will be our first international appearance.
“Beyond University Games, there is limited competition for University basketball teams, and we're also looking forward to the cultural exchange aspect of the trip.”
The seven other teams that will play at the Kaohsiung Arena in July are still being confirmed but last year saw the University of Lyon, France, and Vanguard University, US, compete – highlighting the strength of the competition.
“Meeting similar student athletes from Asia, Europe and America will be a highlight, to compare experiences and forge international friendships for our basketball club,” she said.
“Our expectations going into the tournament are realistic – it will be a tough competition against top Universities who train six days a week and have unlimited resources.
“We're aiming to be a competitive presence, and show our determination and discipline through aggressive defence – we won't give up easily.
“The venue [Kaohsiung Arena] hosted the 2009 World Games and our teams are looking forward to playing on such a professional stage.”
Ryan, who is also the UNSW Basketball Club president, believes the BLIA Cup presents young sportsmen and sportswomen an amazing opportunity to represent their country in a sport they love and excel at.
“We are essentially a grassroots sports club, and we have been invited to compete in Taiwan on our own merit,” she said.
“Each player is a full-time student with the stresses of studying, working and living in Sydney as a young adult, and they have still committed wholeheartedly to extra training and fundraising to make the dream of competing a reality.”
If you would like to help alleviate the $42,500 expected costs to get both teams to Taiwan, please visit: https://www.youcaring.com/universityofnewsouthwalesmensandwomensbasketball-1140924
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