The Ballarat Skoda Rush have this week welcomed back a familiar face with a different name with Hsi-le Bao also known as Joy Burke returning to town.
Bao has played the previous two SEABL seasons with the Skoda Ballarat Rush under her English name and on her American passport as Joy Burke where in 2016 she was crowned the Ballarat Rush Robyn Maher MVP.
In the past 12 months the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) introduced a new bylaw for the inclusion on Asian born athletes to be classified as unrestricted players similar to the rule for Oceania born players.
Despite Bao being born in Taiwan and having played with the Chinese Taipei National Team, she was required to complete all necessary visa applications using her Taiwanese passport. With her visa application being successful on the proviso that she only uses the single identity of Hsi-le Bao.
While on all formal documentation including the SEABL score sheets and working documents she will be referred to as Hsi-le Bao, to everyone that knows her and sees her at the games and in the community she will continue to respond to Joy Burke and be the same person we have come to know and love over the last two years.
Rush Elite Team Committee Chair Lynly Doherty said “To be able to secure Joy under the Asian player rule is a real asset for us and has allowed us to also secure the services of Courtney Walker and Courtney Williams which would not have been possible had Joy come back on her US passport.”
Bao joined her Rush team mate at training last night for the first time this year and is looking forward to the season getting started. Her remaining team mates Walker and Williams will join the squad next week in preparation for the season opener against Dandenong at the MARS MINERDOME on Friday April 6.
For more information on the GMHBA Miners or Ballarat Skoda Rush please contact Elite Teams Administrator Melissa Thomas via 5330 7604 or Melissa.Thomas@ballaratbasketball.com