By NICK GUTHRIE
HE has already represented Australia in the past and in July will be taking part in a World Championships but there's every chance not many people in Dubbo know the story of Jordan Woolmer.
Mudgee-based Woolmer regularly makes the trip to Dubbo to play for the Dubbo Rams basketball team and in the coming months will wear the green and gold of Australia against the likes of Greece, Poland and the mighty United States.
But Woolmer's basketball story is one with a difference.
The 23-year-old is deaf and will be playing for the Australian Men's Deaf Basketball Team, known as the Goannas, in the World Deaf Basketball Championships in Taiwan during July.
"It's a bit different," Woolmer said when comparing playing with his Dubbo teammates to playing for the Goannas.
"Playing in a deaf team is something to adjust to as we use hand signals to run plays while things are more vocal with the Rams.
"It's really good and the rules don't change but there's a different system, when the referee whistles the backboard lights up to so no one misses it, you have to be more aware and everyone is watching the ball."
Woolmer began losing his ability to hear at seven years of age and it gradually worsened over time.
He had his first cochlear implant at eighth and then another at sixteen but that hasn't stopped him becoming a key part of the Rams Waratah State League side.
He also played for Australia at the 2013 Deaflympics and with a young team now in place for the World Championships, he's said the Australian squad is ready to develop together.
"We've been pooled already so it's going to be pretty tough against Greece, Poland the USA, they're pretty big and fast," he said.
"As a team our average age is probably about 21-22 so we're a young side but we've got a really good coach and he teaches us a lot.
"We've got a bit of a five-year plan so hopefully we can stay together and finish top eight at the World Championships then go to Taiwan again for the Asia Pacific Games and that will act as a qualifier for the 2017 Deaflympics."
The only downside to the incredible experience of representing Australia is the fact there is no government or sports association funding available.
The players and coaches have to pay for the trip, with each and everyone having to pay in excess of $5000 in order to travel to train in the lead up to the Championships and then to take part in the competition itself.
The Dubbo Rams are helping Woolmer raise money and flyers with information and ways to help will be given out at their home game this Saturday afternoon at the Woolshed at Sports World.
On top of the, a Go Fund Me page has been set up in order to help the players achieve their dream and wear the green and gold.
Woolmer said every little bit of help means a lot and took some time to thank those who have supported him.
"The Rams team is supportive because I have to travel from Mudgee so I miss some sessions and sometime I've been training with the deaf team so they've been supporting me and we'll try and raise some more money this weekend," he said.
"Thanks to all those who've helped me too, my work in Mudgee is pretty supportive as well and that really helps."
To donate to Woolmer and the Goannas, visit www.gofundme.com/tp5v7k.