MELBOURNE – Nunawading Basketball is excited to share Basketball Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee’s announcement of the 2021 Australian Opals Tokyo Olympic Team, featuring three incredible women that have called Nunawading home since their junior years.
The 12-strong team is headlined by Jenna O’Hea, who will continue in her role as captain along with Rebecca Allen and Alanna Smith who will be making their Olympic debut.
O’Hea who was a part of the Opals 2012 London Olympic campaign returns for another chance at Olympic Gold.
“There’s a lot of mixed emotions with this announcement,” O’Hea said.
“To say I’m excited is an understatement but there’s also a huge sense of relief.
“It’s been a difficult 24 months with the delay of the Games and I’m proud of each and every Opals squad member for their strength and resilience throughout this process. The 12 of us are ready to come together and compete for that elusive Olympic gold medal.”
Rebecca Allen (New York Liberty) and Alanna Smith (Phoenix Mercury) are currently plying their trade in the US-based WNBA, Smith under the watchful eye of Opals Head Coach Sandy Brondello.
“Every selection process is a difficult one as we have so many quality players in our squad, but I feel we have named a very balanced team that will be able to adapt to any style of play we will confront in Tokyo,” Brondello said from Phoenix.
“We have good size, speed, toughness, versatility and experience which will all be required in a high-pressure situation as the Olympics.
“Our 19 days of preparation leading into our first game in Olympic tournament will be greatly beneficial to the team to develop the necessary chemistry for us to be at our peak when it matters.
“We are all excited about the journey that lies ahead and will be doing everything we can to GO for GOLD.“
O’Hea, Allen and Smith all grew up playing at Nunawading Basketball, in the MEBA competitions and Representative Programs, adding to an already impressive list of Olympians that developed their game on the hardwood of Nunawading Basketball Centre. Opals teammate Marianno Tolo also represented the Spectres at SEABL level, whilst Cayla George was due to suit up for Nunawading in the NBL1 2020 season before it was cancelled due to Covid.
The Opals are aiming to add to their rich Olympic legacy, with three Olympic silver and two bronze medals from Atlanta 1996 to London 2012; and took out silver at the 2018 World Cup in Spain.
The team, ranked number two in the world, has been drawn in Pool C, with pool matches against Belgium, Puerto Rico and China tipping off on 27 July in Saitama Super Arena.
The Australian Opals 2021 Olympic Team
|Guard / Forward