Sports stars celebrated
In the 13 years since the RUC Mining Goldfields Sports Star of the Year Awards were resurrected, the calibre of finalists has been first class. This year is no exception. Ahead of next Friday night’s awards at the Kalgoorlie Town Hall, the judging panel face a tough time assessing the merits of senior finalists Gavin Bailiff (cricket), Richard Bourne Jr (football), David Boyes (speedway) and Brian Blechynden (touch).
An outstanding group of rising stars finalists comprises Jade Woods (squash), Connor Fewkes (golf), Olivia Black (athletics), Billy Hicks (basketball), Mackenzie Hoycard (basketball) and Wayne John Marquand (clay targets).
The awards, which include service to sport, person with a disability, masters sports star and team of the year categories, returned in 2002 after an absence of nearly two decades.
Although they ran throughout the 1970s, the awards had not been presented since the late 1980s, but were revived following major interest from the Department of Sport and Recreation’s then-regional manager Dean Holder and former city council staffer Troy Jones. The concept was em- braced by the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Kalgoorlie Miner.
This year’s event includes the latest inductees into the Goldfields Sporting Hall of Fame.
The concept of a Sporting Hall of Fame being established in Kalgoorlie-Boulder was floated for years before finally gathering momentum in 2004 with the formation of a special committee.
Former Goldfields Football League chairman, the late Doug Krepp, floated the original idea in 1998 amid concerns the region’s rich sporting history was gradually disappearing. Krepp had actually proposed the idea of a sporting museum being established in the region during the mid-1990s and decided to pursue the hall of fame project after attending the Kalgoorlie City Football Club’s 1998 centenary celebrations.
Krepp’s preferred venue at that time was the Boulder Town Hall, but the Kalgoorlie Town Hall became the official site ahead of the inaugural 2005 class.
Next Friday’s presentation will include former West Coast Eagles champion Dean Kemp and 2014 world men’s hockey player of the year Mark Knowles as special guests.
Outstanding triathlete Anthea Stacey last night capped an excellent year, highlighted by international representation, in claiming the prestigious Goldfields Sports Star of the Year Award.
Stacey trailed only high-profile professional Kate Bevilaqua in the region’s Olympic-distance race held in April — just one component of a dominant campaign in which she recorded the fastest time in all domestic events.
It culminated with her winning the 2012-13 Telstra State Series title in which points were accumulated over various rounds.
Stacey won the State Sprint Distance championship in Perth last December and, five months later, she followed up by leading all 16 to 19 years competitors at the Aquathon championships.
The accolades continued to roll in and included victory in the 16 to 19 years section at Mandurah’s State Olympic-distance triathlon, when she recorded the best time among all female competitors.
At Busselton’s 2013 Sunsmart Ironman, Stacey won the 20 to 24 age category and was placed 11th overall among 422 women’s competitors.
Her stand-out form in the various State Series events was rewarded with Australian selection in the 20 to 25 years category at the World ITU championships in London in September. Stacey finished 17th in her age division. Also last night, young motocross rider Connor Tierney was the recipient of the Rising Sports Star of the Year Award.
Tierney, 15, was first in the 13 to 15 years 250cc division at the State junior championships and also led the 13 to 16 years field in the same class at the annual Kid Of The Cross.
At a national level, Tierney was overall third in three major events and also placed fourth in the 13 to 16 years 250cc class.
The teenager’s success at the nationals capped a meteoric return to top-level competition following a broken shoulder.
Hockey player Kellie Sadler won the Masters Sports Star of the Year Award after initially representing WA’s over 35s at the nationals held in Adelaide.
Erin Wood, a stand-out in both athletics and aquatics, was rewarded with the Disabled Sports Star of the Year Award while Great Boulder Cricket Club stalwart Dean Jerrard earned the Service To Sport Award. The region’s under-17 country week soccer team was judged Sports Team of the Year.