22 September, 2022
01 October
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Molten lift up volunteers that elevate women's basketball in Australia

SYDNEY (Australia) - FIBA's Global Partner Molten underlined its commitment to basketball with its successful implementation of the Molten Female Local Champions Program in Australia.

Aligned with the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022, which concluded on Saturday in Sydney, the Molten campaign identified women around the country that have contributed to the development and growth of women's basketball in their local communities.

Three women selected - Mirrin Rashleigh (Gladstone, Queensland), Jacinta Govind (Central Coast, New South Wales) and Josie Taoi (Western Sydney, New South Wales) - spent three days at the World Cup and attended the FIBA Global Women in Leadership Forum, spent time with FIBA Hall of Famer Michele Timms of Australia, met other coaches and administrators and went behind the scenes at the competition itself.

"Molten is not only innovative in its determination to have excellence in its basketballs," said FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis. "Our longest-standing partner of four decades understands our aims and objectives, and in this case how we are actively looking for ways to increase the role of women in basketball at all levels of the sport. FIBA and I want to salute Mirrin, Jacinta and Josie for their hard work, and for showing a lot of passion to boost women's basketball."

Govind, Taoi and Rashleigh are shining examples of how anyone that has a passion for women's basketball can make a positive impact.

Govind not only volunteers with her local association, Central Coast Basketball in New South Wales, but also co-hosts the 'Shooting the Breeze' podcast, which is dedicated to women's basketball.

She was elated to be selected.

"It's really important to give all the females out there, working hard as volunteers in their local communities, the platform and recognition they deserve," she said. "I know a lot of people doing voluntary work whether it's manager of a team, taking tickets at the door to a game or refereeing. Sometimes that hard work can go unnoticed. The Molten Female Local Champions program will start to put the spotlight on the unsung heroes in our basketball community."

Taoi created the 'Promote the Goat Uplift Inc'. Based in the Western suburbs of Sydney, it provides coaching lessons and games to underprivileged kids between the ages of 14 and 19. The objective is to not only teach the kids how to become part of a team but also give them life lessons, and to bolster self-confidence.

"The Molten Female Local Champions program is amazing and has inspired me to use my platform to do this for other young girls," Taoi said. "I was a bit lost growing up and basketball was my saving grace. It kept me with the right people and friends, kept me off the streets, it's been super positive in my life...I want to show the young people what a positive impact it can be on your life."

Taoi said she learned a lot in the Global Women in Leadership forum, including what women are doing in Papua New Guinea for their community, and the She Hoops program which relates to what she is trying to do.

It was a huge bonus, too, that thanks to the program, she met legendary players she once cheered for.

"Meeting the Australian Opals at the reunion and going through the throwbacks videos, it took me back to when I was growing up," she said. "I looked up to these young women I got to rub shoulders with and got to tell them how much they meant to me."

Rashleigh, who hails from Gladstone Amateur Basketball Association in Queensland, has contributed to women's basketball in numerous ways. She serves as a volunteer coach of representative youth teams and is a Queensland State League player. She was also Club President.

"The opportunities we have been given while being here at the World Cup have been absolutely amazing and I'm just still ecstatic," she said.

"The Global Women in Leadership Forum presented some great initiatives that show what we can do to get more women and create inclusiveness for the game. So, I am going to take that back and try to include some different types of programs to get more people playing."

Molten Head of Brand Marketing, Noa Hasegawa, said: "We have seen a huge success with the Molten Female Local Champions program and are eager to work with FIBA to see this program rolled out internationally in conjunction with other FIBA major events."

Earlier this year, a Molten Ball Relay involved youth girls from 20 clubs across the country and had them post good luck messages from Australians to the teams that took part in the 12-team World Cup.