People and Places
28/04/2020
From Mount Martha to Canberra and beyond

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Olivia Pollerd is 17 but she still likes to dribble. On the basketball court, that is. This Mount Martha-born and bred young sportswoman, who is currently living in Canberra while completing her two-year scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport, walks her walk. She is also pretty good at shooting through the hoop too. 

Liv, as she likes to be known, explains: “I began playing basketball at about six years old. I used to watch my father Steve and brother Jackson play and it looked like a lot of fun. I’m a very competitive person and basketball has allowed me to go to so many amazing places I never would have gone and to meet people I never would have met. Receiving the scholarship to go to the AIS at the end of 2018 was amazing. I think there are only 10 to 12 scholarship holders in Australia and I’m one of them. I’m doing Year 12 now. After that I’m hoping to go to college in America and then play basketball professionally. Well, that’s the goal.”

And it looks like it will be completely achievable for this 190cm young woman who has settled into Canberra life well. She continues: “When I first moved I really missed my family, friends and the beach but I love what I’m doing and like to work hard. We are on the court every day except Sunday and do weights three times per week. The scholarship program, which is for future Opals – the Australian women’s national basketball team – is broken down into four terms over each year. Term one includes pre-season training and conditioning, terms two and three are dedicated to playing and term four is about individual work and skill development. I’ve played with the Southern Peninsula Sharks and Melbourne Boomers in the Victorian Women’s National Basketball League and the semi-professional Waratah League in New South Wales.” 

She’s also recently been to a four-day basketball camp in Chicago with fellow basketballer Jade Melbourne, where she competed in a tournament with girls from around the world. Liv concludes: “There were a lot of scouts there and the atmosphere was amazing. It gave me an idea of what it would be like to play internationally and go professional. It’s so cool and all the hard work will be worth it.”

Exciting times for this under-18 basketball talent who likes to play on the wing, go for a goal and, yes, dribble all the way from Mount Martha to the world basketball stage. Slam dunk.

LIZ ROGERS

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