15 February 2024

Basketball shoots for three as popularity surges in Weipa

| Cape York Weekly
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The race is on to launch a social basketball competition in Weipa after the popularity of the sport has soared locally over the past few months. Photo: Supplied.

Players could soon be taking to the court in a formal basketball competition in Weipa after the sport recorded an overwhelming boost in competitor numbers.

For almost two years, Naty Linnehan has been putting on basketball at the storm shelter in the Weipa Aquatic and Sport Precinct (WASP) storm surge shelter, initially paying for the hire of the venue and basketballs out of his own pocket to give locals a chance to experience the sport.

His enthusiasm for bringing basketball to the community has been supported by Ratu Davui, with Saturday sessions now having swelled to the point a social competition is looming.

In fact, his commitment to the sport resulted in Mr Linnehan being named a joint winner of the Weipa Community Spirt Award on Australia Day this year.

From humble beginnings, basketball in Weipa has exploded to 30 kids and 20 adults at a session being deemed a “poor turnout”, with 50 younger players and 40 adults more the norm.

READ ALSO Cape York basketballers shine at Indigenous hoops tournament

Community spirit has been key to the sport’s growth, with the Lions Club of Weipa donating $3,000 to help out, half of which went to hiring the WASP court, and half to purchasing new equipment.

Queensland Country Bank also donated $300 for the club to purchase a speaker, while Woolworths assisted with produce to hold an end-of-year sausage sizzle and celebration.

The club is currently coordinating referee training in Cairns and insurance, and hopes to launch a competition in the next few months.

A spokesperson for Weipa Social Basketball said everyone was welcome to try the sport.

“Rain, hail or shine, it’s all inclusive,” the spokesperson explained.

“People make a donation if they can, but if they can’t, they can still come and participate.

“Everyone’s always welcome and it’s great to see so many people turning out to enjoy basketball.”

For more information, check out the Weipa basketball Facebook page.

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