• Patty Mills, Ash Barty and Lydia Williams are three of 16 First Nations athletes heading to the Tokyo Olympics. (AOC)Source: AOC
Rugby, basketball, tennis, hockey and even weightlifting! A record number of mob are in with a shot at Olympic gold!
Keira Jenkins

5 Jul 2021 - 5:03 PM  UPDATED 5 Jul 2021 - 5:03 PM

Sixteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes will be competing across 11 sports in this month's Tokyo Olympics.

It's the most First Nations athletes ever to be selected for an Australian Olympics team. 

Among their ranks is Ngarigo superstar Ash Barty, who will be the first Indigenous athlete to compete in Olympic-level tennis.

The 25-year-old may be an Olympics debutante, but as the current world number one she's a strong contender for gold when she competes in both the Women's Tennis Singles and Doubles in Tokyo. 

In another first, 28-year-old Thomas Grice, who has been an avid shooter since he was 12-years-old, will compete in the Trap Shooting event. 

Not only is it Grice's Olympic debut, but it is the first time a First Nations Olympian has competed in the shooting.

Monero Ngarigo and Yuin woman Angie Blackburn is also making her Olympic debut, competing in the athletics this year.

Hailing from Cann River, in the south-east Gippsland region of Victoria, Blackburn is part of the 4x400m relay team.

Maurice Longbottom and Dylan Pietsch will make their Olympic debuts as part of the Men's Rugby Sevens squad.

Pietsch, a Wiradjuri man, has risen through the Rugby Sevens ranks since he was a teenager, making his Rugby Sevens debut in Wellington in 2017.

Longbottom, a Dharawal man, garnered the nickname 'the magician' after a long, swerving, evading run to the try line in his 2017 Sevens debut - and he'll be hoping to bring some of that magic to the team at this year's games.

Wonnarua man Brandon Wakeling will be the second First Nations weightlifter to compete in Olympics - the first was Anthony Martin who competed more than 20 years ago at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Wakeling will make his Olympic debut in the men's 73kg event in Tokyo.

Noongar man Alex Winwood will also make his Olympic debut at Tokyo, competing in the flyweight event.

The 24-year-old started boxing as a teenager, and after narrowly missing out on selection for Rio in 2016, he's ready to earn his stripes at this year's games. 

Joining the new faces, will be some more established Olympians, including 29-year-old Wulli Wulli woman Taliqua Clancy who will return to the Olympics, after placing 5th in Beach Volleyball at Rio in 2016.

Clancy, who was born in regional Queensland, will compete alongside her volleyball partner Mariafe Artacho del Solar in Tokyo. 

Patty Mills also has an established Olympic history - competing in Beijing in 2008, London in 2012, and Rio in 2016, now the Muralag and Ynunga man will return to the basketball court in Tokyo.

Mills has become a household name over the years, for both his sporting feats and his work off the court, including his series of children's books - Now he's hoping to bring the Boomers to Olympic glory.

Leilani Mitchell is also joining the basketball ranks - competing in the Women's 5x5. 

The Torres Strait Islander woman grew up in the United States but made her debut for Australia's team the Opals in 2014. This will be her second Olympics for Australia, after competing at Rio in 2016.

Brooke Peris and Mariah Williams made their Olympic debut in the women's hockey team at Rio 2016, and they're returning to the games this year.

Williams, a Wiradjuri woman, has played hockey since she was 4-years-old, and will represent Australia at her second games in Tokyo.

While Peris is a Darwin-born athlete and cousin of former Olympic Hockeyroo gold medalist Nova Peris, now she has her sights set on continuing her family's legacy in the sport. 

Two Kamilaroi women will join the Australian Softball team, with dual-Olympian Stacey Porter competing once again in Tokyo, alongside Olympic debutant Tarni Stepto.

Porter was part of the Olympic team at Athens in 2004, bringing home a silver medal, and again in 2008, when the team finished in third at Beijing.

Porter has long been an idol of 21-year-old Stepto, who is set to fulfill her lifelong dream of competing on the international stage at the Olympics. 

The Women's soccer team also has a couple of First Nations talents, with Anaiwan woman Kyah Simon and Noongar woman Lydia Williams making the squad.

Williams was selected as the Matildas' goalkeeper for the 2016 Olympics in Rio and is once again the team's choice of keeper for Tokyo.

Simon also played with the Matildas at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and is hoping to shine again in Tokyo.