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September 5, 2013

Innika Hodgson has defied the odds to gain selection at the Australian Junior Basketball Championships and be recognised as one of the Latrobe Valley’s latest Local Sporting Champions.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today congratulated Innika on receiving a $500 grant which will help cover the costs of her travel to Ballarat for the competition later this month.

Innika has a hearing impairment and cannot hear her teammates on the court.  Communication from the sidelines comes via an aid which allows Innika to hear her coach who delivers messages into a speaker.

She currently plays point guard for the Dandenong Rangers in the Victorian Junior Basketball League who made the championships after a successful season in which they only lost one game and finished second on the ladder.

Mr Chester said Innika was proof that young people can overcome obstacles to reach their goals.

“It is a terrific effort from Innika to represent the Latrobe Valley at the Australian championships,” Mr Chester said.

“She is a very grounded young athlete who has also represented the Gippsland region in netball. She has worked extremely hard to fulfil her potential and not let anything hold her back.

“Innika has also received great support from her family, friends, teammates and coaches, and they would all be proud of her achievements.

“I’m pleased that she has received this assistance and wish her well at the championships later this month.”

Mr Chester said other young Latrobe Valley sports stars competing at the highest level in their chosen sport can apply to the Local Sporting Champions program.

$500 grants are available to individuals aged 12 to 18 years who travel more than 250km to compete at a State, National or International level championships with teams who travel the same distance to compete at the highest level eligible to apply for $3000 grants.

Anyone interested in the program should contact Mr Chester’s office on 1300 131 785 or apply online at

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