National Development Squad perfect Christmas gift for Miki

Rising SASI star Miki Spano has capped off an outstanding 2018 by winning selection into Hockey Australia's Women's National Development Squad

A PLACEMENT with Dutch hockey club HC Zwolle and development tours to China and New Zealand have proven winners for star young athlete Miki Spano.

Miki, 21, recently was selected into Hockey Australia's Women's National Hockey Development Squad - the only South Australian to make either men's or women's development squads.

Consistent efforts on various tours in 2018 and plenty of hard work and strong results saw Miki catch the eye of national selectors, a selection she is thrilled about.

At this stage Miki will be able to stay in Adelaide, train in the SASI environment under national coach Tim White, and be available to join national camps around the country as needed.

The development squads recognise athletes considered to have the potential to make senior national teams.

"I had my hopes up but you can never be too sure what the selectors are thinking," Miki said.

"I had a good tour of (under-23) China and was part of the leadership team in New Zealand (under-21) where I was lucky enough to captain the third game where we lost 2-1 after leading 1-0.

''And going to the Netherlands was the best experience, I feel like my hockey really developed and I learned so many things.

"I had some really good feedback from the coaches and I am really keen to get to that next level.

''The only thing which didn't go so well is that I tore a hamstring slightly but that is all good now.''

For now Miki will enjoy the Christmas/New Year time with family and friends - but not too much of a good time.

''My first official camp will be in Melbourne from February 1 to 5 so even though it is tempting to not do much over Christmas I have to be ready to go and make sure I am up and about when the new year comes,'' Miki said.

''I am so lucky to have the best facilities at SASI and to be able to work on things I need to. I need to come back fitter and stronger.

''We are able to train with the boys which helps and having Tim here is a huge help.''

Workwise Miki has just finished an internship with Hood Sweeney in the human resources area - an area of work she would like to pursue among her hockey commitments.

Miki, who played in Australia’s junior world cup team in 2016 which won a bronze medal, was SASI’s female hockey player of the year in 2017.

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