8 July 2007
Australian Opal, Jennifer Screen, tied the knot with her sweetheart and fellow basketball player, Neil Mottram, on June 30 in a star-studded ceremony in Adelaide. The event was organised from Italy via the internet due to the pair’s professional playing commitments. Beijing Bound had a chat with Jennifer to hear about her exciting wedding news as well as her experiences living and playing in Italy.
BB - I hear that you are living in Italy. How have you adjusted to the lifestyle, the culture and most importantly the language?
JS - It is very different, and I will start off by saying there is no place like home. It’s a typical cliché but it is very true. I live nine months of the year living in Italy. It’s tough. My coach doesn’t speak a word of English but I tend to understand him especially when he’s swearing. The girls have been great. I really love the roads over there because you can go as fast as you want but don’t tell my mum because I’ll probably get in lots of trouble. The food over there is divine; I really like that part of the world.
BB - What position do you play on the team?
JS - I would be a guard. I’m quite small in the world of basketball so you will always see me in the no. 2 spot on the court.
BB - I hear you’re recently married
JS - Yes I am; it’s very exciting. I pretty much organised it all from Italy, I got engaged over Christmas. I went home to Adelaide last month to get married on June 30 to my fiancé Neil Mottram, who is also a basketball player.
BB - I hear that he is in the Boomers?
JS - Yes he is. At the moment he is a bit injured so he has stepped down from the squad and looking towards the 2010 World Championships. So that is disappointing for him but he is supporting me very well, and he is also playing professionally over in Italy about three hours from me.
BB - Neil is Craig Mottram’s brother?
JS - Well Craig Mottram is Neil’s brother. It depends who you speak to. Yes, Craig is also part of the family. He is a great brother to have and another phenomenal athlete, and he is doing very well this year and he has the World Championships coming up.
BB - Did Craig play a role in your wedding?
JS - He was meant to be in the bridal party but such is it the lives we lead are very hectic and he was on the other side of the world when it happened. We tried to juggle it around so he could be there but such is life we couldn’t do anything about it. With technology these days it (the wedding) was on video, DVD, Skype and all of those things so he was able to see it.
BB - Did many of the girls (Opals) attend?
JS - Yes, actually two of the girls in the squad were in my bridal party, Laura Summerton and Kylie Wilson. It was almost like a basketball reunion. There were some old stars there like Andrew Gaze and Chris Anstey and a lot of my team members from the Australian Institute of Sport, from back in my younger days.
BB - Beijing will be…
JS - My first Olympic Games. I’m pretty much a rookie. My first international tournament with the senior team was at the World Championships last year. Hopefully that was the first stepping stone and this (Olympics) will be the next.
BB - What would you say is your proudest sporting moment to date?
JS -Definitely being a part of the 2006 World Championship Team. It was the first time in history that an Australian basketball team, male or female, won gold at the World Championships. So being able to tell my children, one day, that I was a part of that spectacle will be very special.