Naracoorte's Lachie Busiko is about to face the best under 21 hockey players in the world.
Busiko, 19, has been chosen in the “Burras” team to play in the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia, leaving this week to compete on October 22-29.
The teenager’s career has progressed rapidly since he left Naracoorte in early 2016 to join his sister Annie at the SA Institute of Sport with a hockey scholarship.
The former Redlegs Naracoorte player had a great year in 2016. After competing in the Australian under 18 championships in Launceston he was chosen in the Australian Futures Group, a targeted development program for 16-18-year-olds with the potential to represent Australia.
He also represented SA at the Under 21 national championships and was named the 2016 rising star at the Hockey SA awards night.
Perhaps the most rewarding result from the season was winning a Premier league premiership with the Seacliff Hockey Club and the under 18 premiership, also with Seacliff.
This year started with Busiko taking up a traineeship with Hockey SA, enabling him to train, play and still fit work around his hockey.
An under 21 competition in Wollongong brought him to the notice of national selectors, being named as the lone South Australian in the 27-man national junior squad.
From this squad he was selected in the Burras team to compete in this month’s under 21 Sultan of Johor Cup, where the team will look to defend the title won in 2016 against teams from US, Malaysia, Great Britain, India and Japan.
The team flies out a week before the tournament to acclimatise to the very hot and humid Malaysian conditions.
Busiko has had plenty of match practice before heading away, with Seacliff again taking out the Premier league premiership, with Busiko slotting home a drag flick goal in the last minute to give his side a 1-0 victory.
As soon as the regular hockey season was over he travelled to Perth with the Hotshots for the Australian Hockey League.
While it was not the most successful competition for SA, it was perfect preparation for Busiko’s trip to Malaysia.
OTHER SPORT: Netball clubs preparing for 2018