TEENAGE basketballer Annie Blackburn will test herself against some of the world’s most promising players.
Three-on-three basketball has given the Warrnambool rising star another chance to represent her country.
Annie, 16, will help form a four-member Australian team at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney next week. She is the only Victorian in the under 18 team.
The sixth AYOF, labelled a competition for future Olympians, has attracted 1700 athletes from 30 countries.
Annie, who represented Australia at the under 17 world championships last year, said she had little 3x3 experience, which is a fast-paced concept now played in more than 200 countries.
The half-court games are 10 minutes long and action-packed.
“I was supposed to be going to Albury for the country cup and I randomly got an email,” Annie said.
“I have never played 3x3 before. It’s a different style and the rules are a lot different, like the shot clock and coaches can’t say anything while the game is being played.
“There are different teams to who I’ve played previously like New Caledonia and Great Britain.”
Annie said she would stay in Warrnambool this year.
She said the Canberra-based Australian Institute of Sport might offer her a basketball scholarship in 2014.
The Emmanuel College student travelled to America with the AIS in October.
Annie attracted the elite performance academy’s attention with impressive performances at under 16 and under 18 national level and at the under 17 world championships in 2012.
The shooting guard said she would concentrate on school this year following Warrnambool’s decision to withdraw its women’s team from the Big V competition.
“My goal is to make the under 18 state team,” Annie said.
“There is not much else on because there are no Mermaids.
“I reckon they could have gotten a team but it was done the wrong way.
“It’s a bit disappointing.”
The Australian Youth Olympic Festival runs from January 16 to 20.