Gabrielle King celebrates her youth sailing world championship win last year.
Gabrielle King celebrates her youth sailing world championship win last year.

King's academy award

FORMER Clarence Valley sailor Gabrielle King became the first athlete in the North Coast Academy of Sport's 14-year history to win three Athlete of the Year titles.

King, who now lives in Sydney, received the Darrel Chapman award at a function in Tweed Heads, her third successive gong.

The 18-year-old said she was 'thrilled' to be honoured with the award from an organisation which had helped put her on the path to competing at the highest level.

“The NCAS was basically responsible for getting me into sailing,” she said.

“They opened all the doors, was the first lot of coaching I had, and encouraged me to start racing.

“To win this award touches very close to home.”

The NCAS crowned King with its highest award after she triumphantly captured the youth division at the National Titles at Blairgowrie Victoria and the youth women's race at the World Championships in Takapuna, New Zealand, last year.

King no longer trains with the academy, instead honing her skills at the NSW Institute of Sport.

It's the next step in achieving her goal of representing Australia.

“The NCAS sailing program is quite unique ... without it I would not have met Erik Stibbe (NSW Institute of Sport sailing head coach),” she said.

To achieve her dreams, the former Mororo resident has had to combine a sailing schedule with study commitments at the University of NSW.

“It is a fairly hectic schedule but I wouldn't have it any other way,” she said

“I'm out on the water five days a week and working hard in the gym.

“It's what I want to do and I love it,” she said.

King's mother, Hariet Woodrow, said her daughter's move to Sydney was a positive sign of the NCAS's continuing goal of giving young North Coast athletes their first taste of a major sporting career.

“It is not really a reality for her to stay here and advance in her sailing,” Ms Woodrow said.

“(But) that's the aim of the NCAS ... furthering young sports people's careers.”

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