Miki ready to strike at Hockey Junior World Cup

18 Nov 2016

Be ready and keep fit could be the new motto for champion young South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) hockey player Michaela (Miki) Spano.

A disappointing injury to Madi Ratcliffe late in preparations for the Jillaroos' trip to Santiago, Chile, for the women's Hockey Junior World Cup between November 24 and December 4, 2016, has proven a winner for Madi who had been training in Adelaide with various boys' combinations and her own SASI training just to heep her fitness up.

But when SASI and Jillaroos head hockey coach Tim White phoned Miki with the news that she was in the team it took a short time to sink in.

"It was excitement for me but disappointment for Madi,'' she said. "I was back in SA training and trying to keep fit. I thought no-one was going to get injured, they never do. But I just kept training. When I was told by Tim that I was in I had to quickly get on a plane to Melbourne where the girls were training and join them. It all happened so quickly. You just never know, just keep persevering. My family is very excited and have said that I belong and to just give it a go and do my best.''

Miki, 19, of Toorak Gardens, is the only South Australian in the team which will compete against 15 other countries with the Netherlands and Argentina among the toughest to beat.

White, on the Jillaroos coaching staff for the past three years and now head coach, said Miki deserved her selection.

"Although it is disappointing to lose Madi we have selected Miki knowing she can bring what we want to our striker group,'' he said. "Miki has toured Argentina and the UK with the Jillaroos so she understands our structures well. Miki's speed and skill level will be an asset to us up front.''

Miki, who recently joined Adelaide University Hockey Club after playing at Burnside Hockey Club for many years, has starred in the local premier league competition - making two consecutive teams of the year. She also has been in national junior squads for the past three years and has been a SASI scholar for three years.

Miki will be attending the SA Sports Institute awards night this Saturday (November 19) but faces an early night with a 6am plane departure for the world cup the next morning.

Miki Spano