We hear a lot about black magic on the football field, on the running track as well as on the netball court but this month we look at Aboriginal artistry on the hockey field with the 1997 National Sportsman of the Year, Baeden Choppy.
Baeden Choppy from Mackay in Queensland began playing hockey at a very early age. He displayed an extraordinary talent which took him from State to National level in 1995 when he gained selection to play for the Australian Under-21’s.
Baeden has enjoyed remarkable success. He has played a total of 41 international hockey matches for Australia at the young age of 21.
Deadly Vibe is sure that we will be seeing and hearing a lot more of Baeden in the future.
One of Baeden’s renowned achievements was at the 1996 Atlanta Games in the bronze medal game against Germany. Baeden scored on a penalty corner with less than two minutes remaining to give Australia a 3-2 victory and a bronze medal.
Modest Baeden agrees it was a team effort but…
“I put in the last goal to win the Bronze medal at the Olympic Games which was a great experience,” Baeden says.
No one can take that away from him.
“The goal I scored against Germany was of a penalty corner set play. I was just supposed to go in nice and close and get a deflection. It just happened that it ended up coming off O guess,” he adds.
“I remember before we actually pulled the play I was really nervous. I remember that and I couldn’t believe the coach had gone to me to put the finishing touch on it,” he added.
“The Olympic experience was kind of daunting in a way,” Baeden said.
“Mixing with people who are famous, it’s a good thing; we are all there for one thing – to win an Olympic gold medal.”
And that is what Baeden dreams of winning gold on his home soil in 2000. Men’s hockey in Australia is one sport yet to take out the gold.
After the Olympics, Baeden was one of three Atlanta Olympians selected to play in the 18th Championship trophy in Madras, India.
This year, Baeden was vice captain of the gold winning medal Australian Junior team who were victorious at the World Championships by defeating India. His spectacular play in the World Cup secured hi a position in the Junior World 11 team.
He is very aware of the significance of his achievement and is determined to ensure that he provides a positive role model for all Australians.
This year Baeden took out ‘National Sportsman of the Year Award’ at the 6th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sports awards.
Congratulations Baeden from Deadly Vibe.