Hogan’s heroes rising to the top
A RECORD number of Clarence Valley athletes have received Local Sporting Champion grants in the federally funded inititative's latest round of awards.
Federal Member for Page presented nine young champions with a $500 cheque to assist training and travel expenses for their chosen sport.
- Sam Young - Hockey
- Hugh Cameron - Hockey
- Elliott Speed - Hockey
- Alex Dahl - Netball
- James Bertalli - Athletics
- Cody Ensby - Campdraft
- Jorden Elabbasi - Surf Lifesaving
- Stephani Hutton - Rowing
- Ella Cooke - Tennis
He said the high number was a reflection of the strong calibre of sporting prowess in the Clarence Valley. In this particular round every local applicant was successful in obtaining the funding.
"I try to get as many applicants across the line as I can," Mr Hogan said.
"Those who are receiving awards have excelled by representing the Page electorate on the state, national or international stage.
"The region has produced some outstanding sports people in the past and it is important that we support the next crop of local sporting talent.
"I encourage any budding champions out there who have the opportunity of competing at a high level to apply for a grant."
The strength of junior hockey was reflected with three recipients including Hugh Cameron, who represented Australian Country Under-21s at Fiji in December.
The CVAS Year 12 student, who plays for City Bears locally, played a pivotal role in securing the title at the tournament as a wingback.
"We played the New Zealand side in the final and were down 2-0 before coming back to lead 3-2," he said. "They had a penalty corner on full time and I was our runner. They messed up the stick trap, went to Plan-B, I read it and knocked the ball away. Then I was mobbed by my teammates."
Campdraft runs in the blood of Maclean High Year 11 student Cody Ensby, who reached the ABCRA National Campdraft Finals at Tamworth for the first time in January.
"It was a very good experience and the horses performed well," he said. "Preparing for a campdraft is very time consuming and involves five o'clock starts every day.
"We will travel anywhere within a five hour radius to compete."
Maclean High School Year 8 student excelled at Far North Coast Branch, Country and NSW Surf Lifesaving titles earlier in the summer and would have been competing at Aussies next week but was struck down by a lung infection.
The 14-year-old Yamba Surf Life Saving Club member is a budding ironman who looks up to Kendrick Louis and hails from the same club as former ironman and ironwoman Hugh Dougherty and Alyce Bennett.
"They've both given me advice from time to time such as keep swimming," Jorden said.
"You've got to get up early in the morning at 5.45 to go swimming."
The ironman event throws together board, swim and run disciplines. The swim leg is Jorden's favourite, and just last week he returned from the NSW CHS Swimming Championships having finished 17th in the state for the 14 year boys 200m freestyle.
He is the reigning Far North Coast surf swim champion and was runner up in ironman and board race. At Country titles he finished 4th in board and swim and 5th in ironman and reached the state final for the swim.
McAuley Catholic College Year 12 student James Bertalli flirted with Rio Paralympics qualification when he competed at the 93rd Australian Athletics Championships last month.
The AWD athlete finished 6th overall in the discus and 11th in shot put.
"Just to be there was a really good experience," he said.
"I was the youngest over the field of competitors."
Bertalli, who recently switched his training base from Junction Hill to the expertise of throwing coach Tom Hancock in Maclean, is setting his sights on 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
For more information about the Local Sporting Champions program go to http://www.ausport.gov.au/participating/local_sporting_champions