Years of work pay off with selection on national hockey team
YEARS of hard work and dedication has paid off for Far North Coast hockey player Jan Saul.
Saul has just been selected in the Australian Over-50s team to play in the World Cup in the Netherlands next year.
It is the first time she has been selected to represent her country.
Saul played for Queensland at the Australian veteran women's hockey championships in Adelaide and was named player of the match by the national selectors in a 2-1 win over NSW in the final.
"I'm extremely excited, it will be a whole new learning curve playing in a World Cup," Saul said.
"I've been playing forever and this will be some fairly intense competition."
Saul will play games against Germany, England, New Zealand, South Africa and the Netherlands.
She is not alone, with Northern Star Hockey Club player Gloria McPherson selected in the Australian Over-60s for the first time.
Ballina players Chris Eather and Helen Rankin Jarvie have also made Australian teams.
Rankin Jarvie first played for Australia in 2008 and will represent the Over-45s on the Oceania Development Tour to Fiji.
She won gold medals with the Over-45s team in the Trans-Tasman tournament in Auckland in May and with the NSW Over-45s at the national veterans championships in Adelaide.
Eather is off to England for an Over-55s Test series after a busy year.
She won gold medals at the World Masters Games and in the Over-55s in Auckland.
"I've always enjoyed playing and I can't see myself slowing down any time soon," Eather said.
Karen Iwanuscha, a former Ballina player now at Murwillumbah, will also be busy next year.
She will represent the Australian Over-45s in Fiji and the Over-50s in the Netherlands.
Far North Coast men will also have a presence in Australian masters teams.
Ballina players Grant Smith and Scott Hamilton are in the Over-40s, club mate Wayne Porter is in the Over-45s and Northern Star player Paul Leadbeatter has been selected in the Australian Over-55s.