Asheligh Pink looks set for a bright future after representing England at an under-15s basketball tournament in Copenhagen.
The talented 14-year-old, who plays her club basketball for the Ipswich Bobcats, was among the squad who narrowly missed out on a third-place finish, but still enjoyed the team’s best ever finish.
That achievement did not look likely in the Danish capital as the girls suffered back-to-back defeats on the opening day of the competition, going down 73-54 to Denmark and 64-56 to Iceland, effectively ending their hopes of a final appearance.
However, they bounced back on Saturday, defeating Netherlands 54-47 and Berlin 63-41 to qualify for the bronze medal game.
Their final game was a rematch with Netherlands, but this time it was the Dutch who prevailed 54-49.
For the Ormiston Sudbury Academy pupil, it was her first taste of representative basketball since being introduced to the game by Uplands Middle School teacher Mark Bolton, in what proved to be a proud occasion for Pink and her family.
“We are very proud of Ashley, she is a very laid back character but she enjoyed every minute of it,” said her mother Tracy. “They missed out on third position, but it is still the best the team have ever done, which is great.
“It is her third season with the Bobcats, but her progression has been really quick having to get through the regional team then spotted for the under-15s.
“She may now go and join up with the under-16 team which will be the next step up and really exciting for Ashleigh, everything is looking good.”
The progression is very much still a realistic opportunity for the youngster, having just been registered with a FIBA license as a reserve player for the under-16 team, who will be flying out to compete in Portugal this summer.
“Ash impresses all the performance staff at England and Great Britain, not least for her work rate and attitude,” added Pink’s Suffolk coach Kathryn James.
“She is super competitive and wants to learn at every opportunity.
“Anyone who has ever coached her at any sport at whatever level will recognise these attributes.
“Having also been registered with a FIBA license as a reserve player for the under-16 team this summer to play in Portugal, I am sure Ash and her family are thrilled with her progress this year.”