Claire Melia, a third year student was selected to represent Ireland and take part in the FIBA U/15 Development Camp which was held in Slovenia earlier this year, from the 6th to the 11th of July. Claire was the only girl in the country in her age category to be selected to attend the European basketball camp.
She travelled to Slovenia alongside another Irish representative Dayna Finn and Alison Keech, the Irish referee representative. They would face a long journey from Dublin to Slovenia. Following a changeover in London Standsted airport, their long plane journey came to an end in the Slovenian city of Ljubljana. The journey was not over however as they were picked up by a waiting taxi which transported the three Irish basketballers to the camps location, Postojna.
The girls were given their camp gear by the organisers of the event on arrival and then entered the gym to join the camp of approximately eighty girls of all European nationality. Their timetable, five straight seven a.m starts. A tall order but the girls managed well. One of the obstacles the girls had to overcome was the language barrier that existed between them and other players, for example, Claire and Dayna had to share a hotel room with two of their Hungarian counterparts.
The camp schedule was gruelling with each day consisting of various drills, skills and fitness tests as well as competitive inter-camp games. A welcome break arrived on day four for the girls with a visit to some nearby caves and a trip to the beach. The fifth day however was one of the most enjoyable, according to Claire. All Star teams from the camp were selected to compete with each other in mini tournaments, which happily for Claire, her team would win. Even better still was the announcement to come which was to be selected as one of the All Star 5 players for the entire camp. Claire Melia would proudly to take her place in this line-up and represent Ireland among players from Czech Republic, Turkey, France and Germany.
Claire described the camp as an excellent experience to learn as she got to meet with top Russian female basketballers as well as top referees and coaches to give her advice about basketball and playing in Europe. The camp was very enjoyable for Claire and she was very proud to able to represent her school, club, family and country with pride on the international stage.