Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Sudanese Australians and sport

Gee, I hope I can get the tone of this OK.

I don't know when Australia started seeing increasing populations of Sudanese immigrants. I guess it was probably in the last 10 years or so. I started noticing them more when I arrived back, and among my first thoughts were, "my goodness, I can't wait until these folk start playing the sports I follow". The physiques of the immigrants I've seen are just remarkable, fit and long and lean and lithe. The dominant sport in Sudan is probably soccer, but I just reckon they are so physically well-suited to sports like basketball, cricket, netball (which I don't enjoy much, but whose position I respect) and australian rules.

The first Sudanese-Australian sportsperson I have seen in the news is the basketballer, Ater Majok. He was a high-profile recruit to a major US college, UConn, but declared for the NBA draft prematurely, without ever having made any real impact in the college game. He wasn't drafted, and has recently been playing a couple of short stints in the NBL here in Australia. He hasn't set the world on fire, and I've heard worries about his fundamentals and his attitude, so time will tell how far he goes.

This weekend also saw the first appearance by a Sudanese-Australian in the AFL, with Majak Daw playing in a preseason game with North Melbourne. Early reports are good, and personally I really want to see him succeed. The Kangaroos aren't my team, but I really hope if nothing else that Majak can serve as a role model to people in his community.

Here's hoping we see more and more Sudanese Australians breaking into top-level sport in Australia. I really think they have a great contribution to offer to our sporting landscape.

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