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Sally set for Summer Universiade in Serbia


23 June 2009
Southern Cross University Sydney Hotel School student Sally Potocki always knew she wanted to be a champion basketball player.

The talented 20-year-old Women’s National Basketball League and Sydney Flames player has just been selected for the 2009 Australian University Sport women’s basketball team. She is flying to Belgrade in Serbia this week to compete in the World University Summer Games – the Summer Universiade Belgrade 2009.

Sally, who is studying for her Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management, also works part-time at front desk reception at The Westin, Sydney. Not only that, but she somehow also manages to squeeze in training for European handball – a game she describes as a cross between soccer and basketball.

“Mum played the game as a girl in Poland and introduced me to it. She still plays it and we often go to training together. She is a great support,” Sally said.

“I was in Serbia last year competing in the Junior World European Handball Championships and had great fun. The game uses many similar skills to those used in basketball, only you also get to use your feet to save a goal.

“I started playing basketball around the age of seven and I just loved it. My passion for the sport grew from there.

“I can spend ridiculous amounts of time practising. Usually I do eight or nine training sessions a week – a combination of working out with weights, doing an individual fitness program or playing with the whole Sydney Flames team.

“I learnt in high school how to manage my time really well between study, work and sport, so I don’t find it too hard to fit everything in – but there is certainly no room for anything else, especially not a relationship.

“It’s just as well I love the sport so much. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

“When I eventually need to retire from the sport I will need a new career path and that is why I am studying at The Hotel School. I love the travel industry and working with people. One day I want to manage my own hotel.

“The course has delivered everything I ever wanted and the support and flexibility shown to me has been outstanding.”

The Summer Universiade is one of the world’s largest multi-sport events and is often compared to the Olympics in size and scope.

Athletes at previous Universiades have produced world and Olympic records. The event is held every odd year and attracts over 10,000 participants from 170 countries.

More than 200 athletes named in the 2008 Australian Olympic team were current or former university students and many of those same athletes had participated in previous Universiade events.

Increasingly, national sporting organisations are viewing Universiades as an integral part of the elite athlete developmental pathway.

Sally will depart with the Australian team on Wednesday for the three-week event.

You can learn more about the Summer Universiade at:

Photo: Sally Potocki who has been selected in the women’s basketball team for the Summer Universiade Belgrade 2009.