Newcastle’s basketball hero Suzy Batkobic has revealed the 2018/19 Women’s National Basketball League season will be her last, calling time on a long and storied career.
Batkovic started life in the WNBL 22 years ago, after emerging from the Australian Institute of Sport as a brilliant young talent at just 15 years of age.
The now 37-year-old went on to claim five national titles in the women’s league, and added five Most Valuable Player plaudits to her roster of outstanding achievements – the most in WNBL history.
Batkovic also won four European titles in her stint overseas, and appeared at the Olympics three times with the Australian Opals.
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At her retirement announcement, Batkovic revealed the thought of throwing in the towel had been “playing on [her] mind for some time”, but as she went from strength to strength with her current team – Townsville Fire – she held off on the big decision.
Now, she’s made the call.
“It’s a tough a decision for any athlete to know when to go and I remember thinking it last year and I wasn’t ready. I knew that I still had plenty to give,” Batkovic said. “But now as much as my heart’s still in it the old body’s not so keen to continue so I’m just going to give everything I’ve got this year and try and enjoy it.”
“I don’t want it to be a distraction and I didn’t want it to be a bit of a surprise during the season when we’re trying to focus on the job at hand. I know where I stand and hopefully it gives the girls extra motivation to try and win that championship.”
Batkovic also praised Fire’s off-season recruitment, and said if she could go out with the team’s fourth title in just five years it would be a “fairytale ending”.
“That would be the ultimate so I’m going to do everything in my power to try and make that happen,” she said. “We’ve recruited an amazing group again so there’s no reason why we can’t defend our title and keep that trophy up here in Townsville.”