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Batkovic getting better with age

25 March 2016

BASKETBALL: She may be one of the veterans of the Australian side but triple Olympian Suzy Batkovic is proving to everyone that she is still one of the nation’s finest players.

The 35-year-old has just led the Townsville Fire to their second straight WNBL title after they defeated the Perth Lynx in what was a brilliant showcase of women’s basketball in the land Down Under.

“It’s tough to win a championship but to go back-to-back is pretty special and extremely rewarding,” said Batkovic.

Batkovic played exceptionally throughout the season and in turn was awarded her fourth WNBL MVP award, an achievement only matched by fellow Aussie great Lauren Jackson.

“I keep telling people that I’m like a fine wine, I get better and better with age,” she joked.

“I’m enjoying playing so much that my game is just doing its thing and I’m glad I’m going so well.” 

With another WNBL season under her belt Batkovic got to see close up the next generation of Australian stars coming through the ranks.

“There’s always a time in every country where changes begin to happen with that core group that have been together for a long time.

“The youngsters are now starting to find their feet and get more experience and I know we are going to see some big names come through for Rio and in the next few years after that.”

With the WNBL season wrapping up and Rio 2016 drawing closer, Batkovic is looking forward to getting back into camp with her Aussie teammates.  

“It’s always special to put the green and gold on and represent your country so for I’m really forward to getting back with the national team.

“Everyone’s beginning to gear up and get ready to try and make the team and hopefully do the country proud.”

The Aussies will have their first camp begin on March 29 in Canberra and will get to spend a fair bit of time together both in Australia and abroad in the next few months.

“We’ve got a fair few camps and tours which is great. This time around it looks like we’ll be together a fair bit with the camps and games quite spaced out in the lead-up to Rio.

“The more time you do spend together you build team chemistry and cohesion so it will definitely benefit the team.”

Batkovic won back-to-back silver medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 before winning bronze at the London 2012 Games.

With a strong squad announced for the opening camp she is hoping that she can add an Olympic gold to her long list of career achievements.

“Gold is definitely the goal. I think that’s everyone’s goal and we’ll try to do whatever we can to get that gold medal.”

“If I was to make the Rio team it would be my last so a medal would be the ultimate swansong.”

One constant alongside Batkovic since her Olympic debut has been four-times Olympic medallist Lauren Jackson.

The Aussie legend is fighting the clock to make the Rio Games but Batkovic has everything crossed to hope her good mate lines up alongside her in Rio.

“I’ve grown up with Loz, we’ve been all around the world together and played three Olympics side-by-side. She is a phenomenal athlete and in her time she was the greatest basketballer in the world.

“Being her teammate I’ve been pretty honoured to grow up playing with her and watch her tremendous career unfold. I hope she gets the opportunity to go out in a really nice way.” 

Matt Bartolo

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