Victoria Unicomb has returned home to Telarah with a silver medal after the sporting experience of a lifetime.

Unicomb has been in Sydney for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival along with 1500 other athletes from across the world and managed a podium finish along the way as part of the national under-18 women’s 3-on-3 basketball team.

“It was absolutely amazing,” the 2012 Maitland Junior Sportsperson of the Year nominee said.

“It was my best experience yet.”

In between the opening ceremony and hanging out at the athletes’ village-style set-up, the 16-year-old played eight matches at the festival.

Starting on Thursday this included preliminary round wins against Great Britain, Guam, Indonesia and China.

A record heatwave ripped through the state capital on Friday with temperatures in excess of 45 degrees, which forced matches to be abandoned from the outdoor courts at Darling Harbour.

Heavy rainfall the following day saw the tournament transferred indoors to Sydney Boys High School.

This was where the medals would be decided and Unicomb’s Australian teammates reversed an earlier result against New Zealand to defeat their trans-Tasman rivals in the semi-final and qualify for the decider.

This pitted Australia Green against Australia Gold in the grand final with the former going down by five points (16-11).

“All we wanted out of this tournament was to medal and we were able to do that in the end,” Unicomb said.

The Maitland Mustangs junior said she was pleased with how she performed individually and enjoyed the change in styles from a traditional five-on-five to a shortened version of the game.

“It was definitely tougher but I liked it,” she said.

In other news from the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival, the sixth event of its kind since Sydney hosted the Olympics in 2000, East Maitland’s Holly Lawrence picked up two gold medals.

The 18-year-old, who is now based in Canberra after receiving a one-year scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport, was representing NSW at the festival and was part of victorious teams in the quad scull and women’s eight.

Redhead’s Adrian Delore scored a silver medal in the rugby sevens while Bellbird shooter Nathan Blackburn, Merewether swimmer Meg Bailey and golf pair Blake Windred (Cardiff South) and Tess McDonald (Adamstown Heights) also took part in the five-day competition.


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