Amazing 'South West Sydney Academy of Sport' awards night
Written on the 4 August 2015 by SWSAS
A sell-out crowd of over 600 guests, including some of Australia's finest athletes, sports supremo's, politicians and local government administrators sat amazed, as story after story of the achievements of the south west Sydney regions most talented young athletes, unfolded before them.
The presentation dinner, was an inspirational experience of past sporting glories and messages from a 'who's-who' of Australia's finest National and International heroes. The evening simply brought together all things 'good' in Australian sport.
These local sporting greats were in high demand for photographs and autographs by the Academy's future stars and not so young supporters.
Representing the NSW Minister for Sport, local MP Chris Patterson spoke with passion about the importance and value of the Academy to our region and congratulated its 345 athletes, 70 plus volunteer coaching and support staff members, and the hundreds of supportive parents associated with the Academy.
Across the room local politicians representing the three tiers of Australian government also expounded the virtues of the regions Academy and its amazing local athletes, whilst individually re-affirming their support for the Academy's future.
Academy executive director Gerry Knights acknowledged the outstanding support it receives from its major partners, including the Campbelltown Catholic Club and Illawarra Coal's SOUTH32 division, State and Local government, senior sporting organisations and its local business partners.
Knights was quick to say, the partnership with these fine organisations and the inclusion of additional quality businesses is paramount to the sustainability and growth of its local Academy.
But the award highlight of the evening everybody was waiting for was the naming of the Academy 2015 'athlete of the year' winner, which went to local 17 year old Australian 'wheelchair basketball', Para-athlete Jessica Cronje.
Cronje who has cerebral palsy was one of 10 exceedingly worthy award nominees representing their individual sports, and has identified herself as an exceedingly hard working inspirational athlete.
In February she made the cut to be part of the Australian Gliders team to compete in the Osaka Cup in Japan; where the Australian team won a Bronze Medal. This was Cronje's first experience of International competition.
In late June and July this year, she represented the Australian women's under 25's wheelchair Devils basketball team at the World Championships held in Beijing China, where Australia won a Silver Medal, being defeated by Great Britain in the final.
She has now been selected as part of the senior Gliders team and continues to work hard preparing for the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games Qualifiers in November and is determined to make the final cut and join the 12 person squad, to be selected in February, for the 2016 Paralympic Games. This will be a year of balances and deadlines, as Cronje mixes sport with her all-important HSC studies.
NSW Rugby League CEO David Trodden and Netball NSW CEO Carolyn Campbell expressed their pride in the achievements of the regions finest young athletes and congratulated all associated with the Academy's amazing growth over recent years.
With a wide range of state sporting organizations' in attendance Trodden provided a memorable special tribute to the work of the Academy, in its support of the code, in Sydney's south west.
Campbell an instrumental figure in the staging of this year's Netball World Cup at Olympic Park, Homebush; personally displayed the excitement 'in and out' of the Netball fraternity regarding the upcoming event; and reinforced the importance Netball NSW puts on the Regional Academy Netball development pathway.
Mr Matt Miller Chief Executive, Office of Sport is quoted as saying; the Graduation Dinner gave him a good appreciation of the significance and role of Regional Academies.
Full List of Award Winners
Development Rugby League
U15: Cameron Oitmann
Jim Medway Memorial Trophy Rugby League
Clive Graham Award Lone Star
Clive Graham Award Lone Star AWD
Campbelltown Catholic Club Coaches Service Award
Silver 5 years
Outstanding Service Award 10 years
Extraordinary Service Acclamation
Chairperson Award Nominations
Chairperson Award Winner