Tom Wheeler (Class of 2016) will represent Australia in the under-23 volleyball team to play in the Asian Championship at Mayanmar (or Burma) in August. Tom returned to Australia from Canada where he is studying primary education at Grande Prairie Regional College and playing in their men’s team.
The Australian squad will be training in Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport before heading to Thailand on July 27th in preparation for the tournament which will be held August 3 – 11. The tropical heat will be a stark difference to the climate of Alberta, but Tom is no stranger to the South-east Asia weather after touring with the Queensland Schoolboys team in 2015. He comes into the side with experience having represented his country in the Under-20’s whilst completing his final years at Ipswich Grammar School.
“I’m not too worried about it’ he said “It will be a good experience. I’m going from the cold in Canada to the tropical heat of south-east Asia.”
With his significant 203cm height advantage, Tom will be looking to play at integral role in the blocking defence for the team. He has led the Canadian league for blocks for two successive seasons. The import said that the style of game in Canada differed from that of Australia, focusing on power and athleticism rather than tactics and skill. Due to the popularity of the sport in Canada, games are live-streamed so selectors were able to gauge his current form.
“I was not expecting to make the team,” he said. “It’s a huge honour. I’ve put in the hard yards and it shows all of that hard work has paid off.”
Wheeler will be looking to have a stand out tournament, in the hope of one day gaining a start in the national men’s side.