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Edison Mission Energy Gippsland Academy Of Sport Annual Awards Ceremony

A celebration of sporting achievements for 2002

By Andrew Pomeroy - 3rd December 2002 - Back to News

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The Premiere Function centre recently played host to the 2002 Edison Mission Energy Gippsland Academy of Sport Annual Awards Night.

Coaches, athletes, sponsors and invited guests enjoyed the formal event where sporting achievements from throughout the year were recognised and celebrated.

Guests speakers included VIS(Victorian Institute of Sport) Regional Program Manager, Ralph Richards who praised the continued work and accomplishments the academy are producing and made mention that the VIS and the academy had similar visions in that "Success in sport equals success in life." He furthered this by adding that the Academy looks to have a bright future and applauded the efforts of the academy in assisting young people in their sporting endeavours.

The motivational speech from Para-Olympian Don Elgin, had guests both highly entertained and left people pondering life's choices. A 2000 finalist of the 'Melbourne City Sports Award,' "The Freak" Don Elgin took guests along a journey of courage, inspiration and joy.

A spokesperson for people with disabilities, Don, has achieved sporting greatness competing in the 1992 Barcelona Games and the 1999 Para Olympics and offered, "disabled doesn't mean useless." Don, himself having had his early beginnings in a small country town highlighted the significance of community spirit, the importance of support from friends and family and the positive impact this has on young athletes.

The passionate message he delivered was, "Believe in yourself and your personal best is the greatest achievement."

Academy Chairman, Darrell White identified that the main objectives of the academy are to support athletes in their chosen sports and encourage people with disabilities. Also the academy has a continued commitment in assisting individuals to reach their full potential, both in sport and life.

Recognition and gratitude was given to all sponsors who play a crucial role in the continued success and growth of the academy. Special mention was given to Phil Shelley who played an integral role in the academy's inception and who continues to support with a hands on approach.

The commitment shown by all coaches was praised and demonstrated in the outstanding sporting achievements shown throughout the year.

Executive Officer, Andrew Pomeroy paid further tribute to the sponsors especially Edison Mission Energy and Federation Health for their vision and belief in what a Regional Sports Academy could achieve, Stating that the commitment of all sponsors is much appreciated and with their continued support the future looks fantastic for the Academy.

The sporting efforts of all athletes were recognised and the following major awards were presented:

The Tim Forsyth Outstanding Achievement Award was awarded to Amanda Drennan (multidisability swimmer) who has had a phenomenal year in sport. Amanda is a world and Australian record holder for 14year old 50mtrs backstroke, is a member of the Australian Team attending the IPC World Swimming Championships in Argentina later this year, a finalist in the Open National Championships in Brisbane, March 2002, a current VIS member and a state and country medal winner.

The David Drane Encouragement Award recipients were Ben Geard also from the swimming world and Damien Irving from the Golf Program. Ben is a young athlete who has so much focus that he has improved at very rapid rate. He started at 45th nationally and is now in the top 16 nationally for 50m backstroke and has a very bright future ahead of him. Damien has been a solid performer within the Golf program and has improved throughtout the year, his enthusiasm, commitment and attitude will help him get to the top of his game in the near future.

The inaugural Sports Development Award, now known as the Phil Shelley Award was officially launched and the 2002 winner was Peter Brown from the golf program. Peter has contributed significantly towards the academy, firstly as a supportive parent and who now is very dedicated with the junior golf program. Peter spends many hours assisting wherever needed and is a true asset of the academy.

The evening showcased some of the talented young sporting athletes that the Gippsland area is producing and highlighted the integral part that The Academy plays in supporting young people reach their goals in the world of sport.


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