La Fleur Shows Passion for PNG Hoops
Driving through Hohola always triggers fond childhood memories for Basketball star Annie La Fleur.
“I can remember climbing up mango trees with my brother and cousins and being outside playing until it was dark,” La Fleur recalled.
The Papua New Guinean born, Australian Olympian is currently visiting Port Moresby to help facilitate a Hoops for Health Coaching Course as part of her role as FIBA Oceania Development Manager.
Following an outstanding 15-year Basketball playing career, that saw the point guard compete for Australia in two FIBA World Championships (94 & 98) and the Sydney Olympics in 2000, La Fleur kept her love for the sport going, via a successful transition into a development role with FIBA Oceania, the sport’s governing body in the Pacific.
“Helping grow the game at the grassroots is my passion,” La Fleur said.
“As a Pacific Islander myself, I feel very lucky that I get to travel to countries all over Oceania and assist National Federations with developing the code.”
While she acknowledged that she’s seen some pretty amazing things throughout her hoops travels, the 47-year old still gets emotional when visiting her native Papua New Guinean motherland.
“I really do love coming home,” she said.
“The people, the culture, it’s all pretty special for me and I am proud to be Papua New Guinean.”
La Fleur also has a strong desire to see the sport evolve in her homeland.
“I was here for the 2015 Pacific Games and that tournament was really something extraordinary.”
“The way the people got behind the teams reflected just how popular the sport is in PNG.”
“Part of my role with FIBA Oceania is to make sure that momentum continues and the sport keeps moving in a positive direction.”
“BFPNG has formulated a very extensive strategic plan and we at FIBA are going to be right there supporting them to reach their goals and targets.”
“A big part of that plan is coaching development and through this Hoops for Health course that we’re conducting in conjunction with OSEP, we can help get them on the right pathway.”
“There’s some fantastic athletes in PNG and if we can upskill the coaches here to help turn these athletes into better all-around basketball players, I’m sure PNG will be in the medal hunt at the 2019 Pacific Games.”
La Fleur will depart Port Moresby on Friday morning following the conclusion of the three-day course.
Hoops for Health is funded by the Australian Government’s Pacific Sports Partnerships initiative.
For more information please contact BFPNG Chief Executive Officer Joel Khalu on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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