Young Armidale star on the rise

MATUR Maluach might be just 12 years old but the1.86m basketballing athlete joined an illustrious band of sportsmen and women when he was named the North West Schools Sports Association Sportsperson of the Year at West Diggers in Tamworth yesterday.

Olympians such as the Emmaville Express, Debbie Wells (1971), Andrew Curry (1989), Craig Miller (1989) and Nathan Thomas (1990) litter the Sportstar Honour roll as well as NRL stars such as dual international Scott Gourley (1986), Alan Tongue (1998) and Tom Learoyd- Lahrs (2002). 

Rugby international Michael Brial (1988) and Australian cricket 12th man for the last South African Test, Josh Hazlewood (2002) all won.

With such a cast of previous sportstars behind him, Maluach can take pride from the fact his 2012 sporting efforts shone as brightly as their deeds to win in their young school years.

The Drummond Memorial School Year 6 student, who heads off to Armidale High next year, literally stood out in a year where he represented North West with distinction in three different sports.

Basketball, his favourite, was high in his list of achievements where he starred with the Jonathan Willis-coached side in a breakthrough State Carnival at Coffs Harbour.

Maluach was named tournament MVP after being leading rebounder and shot blocker at the championships and averaging 30 points a game.

North West, which had never won a State PSSA Boys’ Basketball Carnival, then won the final, Maluach scoring 40 of the side’s 45 points!

It earned him selection in the State PSSA side.

He and his basketball teammates also earned one of two President’s Awards.

Football (soccer) was also a highlight for him, representing the NW at Lisarow. He was named the NW MVP.

Athletics also loomed large for the Sudanese refugee.

At the North West Athletics Championships, he won the shot put, was second in the high jump and was third in the long jump and named 12-13 age champion.

That took him to Sydney for the State Championships, finishing seventh in the shot put and long jump but winning the high jump with a leap of 1.67m, 20cm higher than he had jumped at the regionals in Tamworth, and close to the 1.71m state record.

It earned him a trip to Adelaide last month where he won the National All Schools with a 1.67m leap.

“Basketball is my main sport though,” the easy-going Maluach said.

“I only started athletics (high jumping) this year. 

“I had a bit of encouragement from my teacher.

“Winning the high jump at the nationals was good .”

Winning at Coffs Harbour with his basketball side was even better, he said.

“They were the first North West team ever to win.”

NW sports organiser Richard Rowlings said it was a brilliant effort.

“Jono (basketball coach Jonathon Willis) said in the 10 years he’s been coaching the side they’d won something like five games from 80.”

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