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5 July 2001

Olympic Stars for the Ridge

Six members of Australia's national women's basketball team, the Opals , will model prize-winning opal jewellery at the Gala Awards Night of the Lightning Ridge Federation 2001 Opal Jewellery Design Awards and Exhibition later this month .Head coach Jan Stirling, and players Michelle Brogan, Jo Hill ,Emily McInerny, Tracey Braithwaite, Allie Douglas and Eleanor Sharp ,will be special guests at the Gala Awards Night on Saturday July,28, after conducting an afternoon training clinic in Lightning Ridge for junior basketball players.

Olympian Michelle Brogan will compere the Gala Awards Night, assisted by local Peter Waterford; and guests will be treated to an address by head coach Jan Stirling. 'The Opals will model the finalist pieces for the Prestige Award in our international opal jewellery design competition," said Jenni Brammall, coordinator of the Opal Jewellery Design Awards Association(OJDAA).

"We will have Australia's best wearing some of the best jewellery in the world, by designers from Australia, Germany, Switzerland, the States ,Canada and Israel. "This will be a celebration of opal Australia's National Gemstone - and recognition of these great sportswomen who carry the names of Australia and of opal onto the world stage," Jenni said. And it's not just the people of Lightning Ridge who are exited about the visit the Opals themselves can't wait to get here.

"I have to confess that the girls and I feel quite privileged being invited as guests, and we all thankyou sincerely for this fantastic opportunity," said coach Jan Stirling. The Opals' visit has been organised by the OJDAA, and generously sponsored by members of the Lightning Ridge community, including community organizations (Soroptimist International of Lightning Ridge, the Opal and Gem Festival Committee); businesses (Down to Earth Opals, Hynagain Mining, Lightning Ridge Opal Co); and groups of individuals (David Roussel and Lajla Pedersen; Cheryl and Trevor Hudson and Robina and Val Boardman; the Johnston family of Opal Vault; and Lightning Ridge's Shire councillors: Peter Waterford, Joan Treweeke , Bob Hewlett , Sam Jeffries ,David Lane and Peter Lang

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