Opals Olympian Nat Burton and aspiring water polo Olympian Luci Marsh in Geraldton for junior athlete program

Headshot of Reuben Carder
Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
Nat Burton, front, and junior basketballers from the Mid West Girls Academy at Active West Stadium in Geraldton.
Camera IconNat Burton, front, and junior basketballers from the Mid West Girls Academy at Active West Stadium in Geraldton. Credit: Reuben Carder/Geraldton Guardian

Aspiring basketballers in the Mid West received some words of wisdom from an Olympian this week.

At the same time the Tokyo Games is inspiring junior athletes around the world, Nat Burton, part of the Opals at the Rio 2016 Games, was in town with aspiring water polo Olympian Luci Marsh for the Australian Olympic Committee and State Government’s Olympics Unleashed outreach program.

Burton, a centre now playing with Perry Lakes Hawks, visited Activewest Stadium in Geraldton on Wednesday where she took questions from girls from the Midwest Basketball Academy on her career, how much Olympians get paid to compete and playing with Liz Cambage and Lauren Jackson. Burton said regional athletes might lack access to the same development pathways as juniors in the metro area, but they could play more sports for longer and maintain the fun and enjoyment of the game, which helped them develop.

She said any athlete faced barriers and she had taken six months off the game after suffering burnout at the end of her college career. A key message was that top-level athletes were “real people” who also faced challen-ges.

“We’re normal,” she said.

Asked whether living regionally was a barrier for athletes, she said it was “only as much as they allow it.”

The tour, which also included school visits, took in Mingenew and Morawa and other parts of the region.

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