BALLARAT basketball fans will have a special reason to focus on the Australian Opals at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Former Ballarat Lady Miners players Cayla George (nee Francis) and Rachel Jarry are part of the Opals squad contesting the women’s tournament.
The Opals are coached by former Ballarat Miners mentor Brendan Joyce.
George played with Lady Miners in 2009 and Jarry in 2010, when she had stellar season to take out the South East Australian Basketball League most valuable player award and pave the way to an international career.
Australia starts its Olympics against host nation Brazil on Sunday at 6.30pm in its opening preliminary round fixture.
The Opals then meet Turkey, France, Japan and Belarus as they pursue their first gold medal.
Rower Lucy Stephan will be the next member of “Team Ballarat” to be in action in Rio.
The former Ballarat Grammar School oarswoman from Nhill will be part of the Australian women’s eight to contest heats on Monday.
The crew was a late addition to the Olympic regatta after Russia was barred from competing.
The bulk of Ballarat’s interests will be in track and field in the second week of the Olympics from Saturday, August 13.