THEY came for the gold and to celebrate a 37 year journey to greatness by a daughter, a sister, an aunty and a friend – Mirboo North’s Belinda Snell.
The whole family and dozens of others were there on the Gold Coast; mother Bernice, who has followed Belinda all over the world, Mirboo North Primary School Principal brother Matt and the rest of the extended family; they were all there to see her play her final game for Australia.
And didn’t the Opals captain go out in style, leading from the front especially after the team’s number one player, Liz Cambage’s controversial ejection from the game in the second quarter.
“We’ve had a great week,” said Matt, on leave from school for a couple of weeks.
“It was a fantastic way for her to go out and she’s played with a lot of those players at domestic level as well which was great.
“She really feels as if she’s left them in good hands with a lot of upside in that group. I certainly hope so.”
Matt agreed it has been a fantastic journey, not only for Belinda, but for the family as well, over the past 20 years or more.
“And the local community has been fantastic as well. They’d often turn up at games all over Australia and even internationally and pop in and say ‘hi’. Belinda loved that.
“We’re tremendously proud of her of course.”
They all celebrated Belinda’s gold medal and the end to a great career after the closing ceremony on the Gold Coast and they’re all off to Airlie Beach now for a week’s holiday with Belinda as a family.
Of course it all started at Mirboo North where Belinda attended primary school and secondary school, making a start on her career in a sports crazy community.
The genes were good too, uncle Bill was an Essendon premiership player (1950) and there have been and continue to be dozens of fine footballers, basketballers and netballers in the clan as well.
“She coaches the Sydney Uni Sparks and will play another domestic season with the Flames but it just means she won’t be playing for Australia anymore.”
There were plenty of messages of support on social media.
• WNBL Twitter: A huge congratulations to the Opals on their well-deserved gold medal at the Commonwealth Games! A special shout out to Belinda Snell on a wonderful end to her international career.
• Basketball Australia: Congratulations to an Opals legend who has announced her retirement from international competition! Belinda Snell is a three-time Olympic medallist, a @FIBA World Champ gold medalist and a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist!
Major Awards include:
Olympic Games: 2004 (Silver), 2008 (Silver), 2012 (Bronze)
FIBA World Championship: 2006 (Gold), 2010, 2014 (Bronze)
FIBA Oceania Championship: 2013, 2015
FIBA Women’s Asia Cup: 2017 (silver)
Commonwealth Games: 2006 (Gold)
WNBL Champion: 1999, 2001
WNBL All-Star Five: 2001, 2004, 2005, 2012
WNBA Champion: 2007
Euroleague Champion: 2011
Polish PLKK Champion: 2013
French League Champion: 2008
Spanish League Champion: 2010, 2011
Well done Belinda on a fine career and thanks for the memories.
Family gold for Snells at Commonwealth Games