WARRACKNABEAL’S Riley Richardson is a netball world champion.
Richardson was one of two Wimmera representatives in the two 23 and under Australian squads that competed at the inaugural World Men’s and Mixed Netball Championships in South Africa.
He said the experience of the tournament was just starting to hit home.
“It’s starting to sink in now that we’ve been acknowledged as the best team in the world and that’s a pretty huge feeling being part of something like that,” he said.
“I’m very happy with how I played and I really like the fact that I’ve got three years left in this age group so I’ve got the opportunity to keep strengthening my netball at an under-23 level.”
Richardson’s Sonix squad defeated South Africa in the final after going through the tournament undefeated.
The team dominated and won all matches by 25 or more goals.
Richardson said the team was always confident it would win a gold medal.
“We were fortunate enough to have a lot of depth on the bench and we could really use a heap of different combinations so we really felt like if something wasn’t working we could change it,” he said.
Horsham’s Jack Denson also came away with a bronze medal after the Australia A team fell in the grand final qualifier.
He said the team learned quickly from its mistakes in tough conditions.
“It was quite hot and the court was a different surface than what we’re used to in Australia, but you learn a lot playing at the highest level,” he said.
“It was pretty good to experience the pressure and play against the top sides.”
Denson’s father – a teacher at Horsham College – went on the trip and supported both Australian teams.
Both Denson and Richardson said the support from their families was the main reason they were able to compete.