Overseas tour for Dunkeroos basketball
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
PLAYING your chosen sport overseas is a dream come true for Coffs Harbour basketballers Sammy Cooper and Emma Howarth.
The two 14 year-olds have both been selected to play for the East Coast Dunkeroos on a month long tour this year which will take the team to China, Thailand, Estonia and Finland.
The pair basically spend seven days a week training or playing basketball and they're now being rewarded with travel around the world.
Along with his good friend Dean Sainsbury, Coffs Harbour's Les Gough helps to organise the overseas tours for the girls.
Not many in town would be aware that Gough was Australia's leading referee for more than 10 years such has been his heavy involvement as a coach of so many of Coffs Harbour's representative teams in the past.
"Last year the girls won 27 of their 30 matches and we had a similar year before that," he said with pride.
Gough knows that these tours don't come cheaply for the girls or their families, as does Margi Berlin from the Plaza's Coffee Club franchise.
That's why when the University Games were in town, the Coffee Club donated 50 cents from every coffee sold at Sportz Central to the girls, going a long way to helping with the $4500 cost of the tour.
"We knew the Uni Games were coming to town and we contacted the people at Sportz Central to see if we could help with any fund raising efforts," Berlin said.
"We were told about the Dunkeroos and to help out the girls with their expenses, we set up one of our Coffee Club stands at the courts to help out."