'The Michael Jordan of wheelchair basketball'.
Mudgee's Jarrod Emeny is aiming high with his sporting aspirations after receiving funding from Mid-Western Regional Council to compete in the Kevin Combs Cup in 2021.
The $1000 which Jarrod applied for was approved by Council at their May meeting. Jarrod said the money means he can spend more time focusing on training instead of worrying about finding a sponsor.
"Receiving this funding allows me to not have the worry of paying for my travels take away from my ability to train and continue my university study," Jarrod said.
"If I wasn't to receive any funding for this trip I would have to look at getting a sponsor as well as fronting as much money as I can which means more time working instead of my daily training."
"What made us apply for this years support was the love and motivation I felt at the Mudgee Sports Council award night where I came away with the disability athlete of the year."
This isn't Jarrod's first time competing at the Kevin Combs Cup, Jarrod played there in 2019 in what was then his first official game of wheelchair basketball.
"Of course the game time isn't all that goes into it, with training as much as I could while also studying my HSC it was a difficult balance and an even more difficult competition but we were able to come away with bronze after a double over time with our team scoring 82 points," he said.
For the love of the game
Jarrod's love for wheelchair basketball was evident the first time he hit the court in 2018. Jarrod said he was still in rehab for his spinal injury.
"My love for wheelchair basketball comes from my love of sport in general especially rugby union playing for the Mudgee Wombats. I think the part I love the most is equal between the friendship that comes from playing in a team but also the way sport clears the mind," he said.
"The mental aspect behind playing at an elite level is something I've always wanted and I'm definitely discovering how important it is for my life."
"When I first had my accident I definitely noticed the change that not being able to play sport left me with. I was short tempered, impatient and my mental health was definitely affected, although I was going through a lot of life changes sport was a normality for me and an escape from my daily life and worry," Jarrod said.
"Getting in the gym or on court after a rough day and working my body till my muscles hurt more than my back and I'm to beat up to think, makes me really fall in love with the sport every day.
"I've always been addicted to sport and I'm happy that I've now got the chance to further that love to higher levels."
Reach for the stars and land on the moon
Jarrod isn't holding anything back when asked about his basketball ambitions post graduation from university, a testament to his passion and drive for the game.
"I've got big dreams of where I could see myself in the future and when asked recently what I wanted to do after uni, the idea of 'Michael Jordan but in a wheelchair' of course this being because Id finally gotten around to watching the 'last dance' on Netflix, but hey shoot for the stars and land on the moon I guess," he said.
"In all seriousness my plan to progress would be getting more court experience with my new team in Wollongong who are the three-time national champs with years of experience and some of the best players in Australia.
"Then hopefully I will apply for a few sporting scholarships that are provided in either the US or possibly Canada to play for a college league while also continuing my studies."
From April 10-17 2021, the country's best junior basketballers will head to Werribee in Victoria, vying for the three championships, with both Under-18 titles won by Victoria Metropolitan at the 2019 event in Townsville, the same event that Jarrod made his wheelchair basketball debut.