Indigenous softball player Stacey Porter—regarded as one of the world’s best—will lead the Australian national team into the Softball World Championship next month.
Porter, 36, from Tamworth in New South Wales, is captain of the Aussie Spirit, which will compete in Japan from August 2 to 12.
With softball back in the Olympics, the championship is the first chance for Australia to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
“We are fortunate that our national women’s team, the Aussie Spirit, is led by such an inspirational role model as Stacey Porter, who has given so much both to Australian sport and to IIndigenous communities,” Softball Australia chief executive officer David Pryles said.
Mr Pryles said it was important to recognise the important role played by Indigenous women, particularly in NAIDOC Week.
He said Porter—the first Indigenous athlete to represent Australia at the Olympics in softball in 2004—has become a role model for more than just her softball achievements. Early in her career she spent time working with young players in remote communities, particularly in Western Australia, where she ran softball clinics.
“The biggest thing for me is to see the smile on their faces when they just get out and throw a softball,” Porter said.
“They don’t get many opportunities to play sport sometimes.
“I just try to have fun with them, and I tell them just to enjoy it, and if you love something enough, stick at it.”
Softball Australia said it had supported softball programs and competitions for more than 2600 Indigenous players a year in communities in the Northern Territory, WA, Queensland and South Australia.