JOSH Sobey knew his younger brother Nathan had an inner determination to make it as an elite sportsman from an early age.
The Warrnambool-based swim instructor, who was a high level swimmer, said Nathan's Olympic Games debut was the reward for a lifetime of hard work.
Nathan will represent the Australian Boomers at the Tokyo Games which will officially open on Friday night.
"I thought I had a passion for sport but then watching him grow up with basketball certainly made me aware there is another level to it," Josh told The Standard.
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"He is just that determined and always has been that determined to make it regardless of what's been put in front of him or what's been said."
The games will run without international spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Nathan's army of support will be cheering from afar.
Josh, his wife Elisha and their children Ivy, 7,and Regi, 4, will be supporting him from Warrnambool while younger brother Jacob will be glued to the television in Melbourne.
Mum Kerrie and dad Peter are travelling in Queensland but have planned their trip around their middle son's games.
They will be decked out in green and gold supporting him on their travels as will his Brisbane-based wife CC and young daughter Harley.
Proud aunty Suellen Sproles - Kerrie's sister - has decorated her Port Fairy shop in support of her nephew.
The Red Hen's shopfront window is adorned with green and gold.
Suellen echoed Josh's admiration for Nathan's persistence.
He was overlooked for the Boomers' initial 24-player squad before a career-best NBL season for Brisbane Bullets encouraged the coaching staff to reassess.
The guard with a penchant for high-flying plays then made the final 12-player team.
"If he gets court time I am sure he'll do a great job but it's just such an awesome thing to represent your country and get to the highest level you can get, it's something in itself," Suellen said.
"I have put on the window a thing he wrote or said (about persistence) and I have noticed a lot of people are stopping and children are reading it.
"It really does show there's always hiccups in life and you've just got to pull yourself up, try again and keep trying and do your best."
Josh said Nathan was grateful for the south-west community's ongoing support.
"Everyone is just proud. When you get athletes from a small country town, you feel like you're on the journey with them at times," he said.
"Just walking into the bakery or supermarket people are always asking 'how's he going?' and are just really interested in his story."
The family's pride is evident too.
"As a family it took a little bit to sink in, even though you're not the athlete," Josh said.
"It took a couple of days to digest it and it was pretty overwhelming really."
Suellen said her sister Kerrie and brother-in-law Peter had "done a lot of miles" to give their three children opportunities to excel.
"We're very proud of him. He's worked so hard, given up so much and committed so much," she said.
"We'll be watching, it won't matter what day or time."
The Boomers' first pool game is against Nigeria at 6.20pm AEST Sunday.
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