Nayte’s coming home a world champion

By RICK SANTOS
NAYTE Ackerley is young enough to ponder future basketball glory but for now the Derwent Valley boy can savour his gold medal at the World Dwarf Games. Nayte, 16, of Lachlan, accounted for four points in Australia’s 30-3 smashing of the never-beaten USA side in Saturday’s gold medal match in Cologne, Germany.

“We are ecstatic,” Nayte’s mother Tameeka Ackerley said tonight (Monday). Mrs Ackerley said she couldn’t wait to set her eyes on her son, who is due to arrive back in Hobart on Friday. “I’m going to be very emotional,” she said, adding that the three weeks without him will be the longest separation she’s had to endure so far as a mum.

Gold medallist Nate Ackerley and his proud dad.

No specific plans have been made to celebrate but Nayte no doubt would be cheering on his younger brother Kobie when his Southern Wolves play basketball on Saturday.

Last week’s gold medal match was during the wee hours of the morning but Mrs Ackerley was sure to watch via live stream. It was made even more special because the Americans had won gold at the previous eight World Dwarf Games – and this time around they didn’t register a single point until late in the match.

Nayte, second from right in the front row, with his teammates in Germany.

Now Nayte is enjoying his last few days in Germany with some sightseeing, touring the Rhine by boat and then spending a day in Dusseldorf. Mrs Ackerley expects Nayte, a Year 11 student at St Virgil’s College, will continue to pursue basketball glory.

Hopefully he’ll be able to don the green and gold at the next World Dwarf Games, which will be held in Australia in 2027. “He’s only young so he should have a couple of more chances to compete,” she said. But before any of that happens, the Ackerleys will need to sort out what to do with Nayte’s gold medal. “We might frame it so that it doesn’t get lost among the other stuff in his room,” Mrs Ackerley said.

Mrs Ackerley thanked everyone who had helped Nayte get to the competition in Germany.

Nayte, second from left, with his team during the World Dwarf Games.

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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