Former Gloucester resident, Damian Martin is fulfilling another career dream by playing basketball for Australia in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
It’s the first time he has taken part in the games, having to give up a chance to play in 2006 after breaking his wrist falling off a horse in Gloucester.
Damian and his teammates have spent the past few days playing the preliminary matches of the games in Cairns.
“We are the only sport being played in Cairns,” Damian said. “And the security is full on.”
He explained how the hotel was fully booked out just for the basketball teams and the whole building was blocked off to prevent cars from getting too close.
Damian said the Cairns community has been really supportive of the team everywhere they went.
Their first game was played on Friday, April 6 at the Cairns Convention Centre, where they beat Canada 95 – 55.
The team returned to the court the following evening (April 7) to face New Zealand, which was a high for Damian.
“It started with the haka,” he said. “And it was a nice close game, which we managed to win.”
The final score being 79 – 73 for Australia.
Their last preliminary game in Cairns was against Nigeria on Monday, April 9 which Australia won 97 – 55, before the team heads to the Gold Coast for the finals.
Unlike Damian’s Olympic campaign at Rio in 2016, he has his wife Brittany and daughter Maggie in the stands watching him play.
And now, as he prepares to fly down to join the rest of the athletes on the Gold Coast, he looks forward to having more of his family and friends join his personal cheer squad.
His parents, Gloucester residents Ray and Anne Martin and two of his siblings will be attending the games.
“And Gloucester’s best baker, Steven Hebblewhite,” Damian said.
Damian will have a bit of time off before the semi-finals on Saturday, April 14, where Australia will face the winner of the match between Nigeria and Scotland on Tuesday evening (April 10).
Until then, Damian will spent time enjoying the athletes village, doing some training and catching a few events.
“Maybe the beach volleyball finals, some track and field and the hockey final, if it all works out.”