Gala bash for Rio athletes
WA’s sporting elite travelling to Rio for the Olympics next month were farewelled at a gala event at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre on the weekend.
Premier Colin Barnett and Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies congratulated the athletes on their sacrifice and hard work to achieve a sporting pinnacle.
The Premier said WA was expected to send about 36 athletes from an anticipated Australian team total of 410.
“To those athletes who are representing Australia, know that those of us at home will be glued to our televisions and devices cheering you on to gold,” he said.
“But no matter the outcome, we urge you to compete with pride, courage, tenacity and the highest level of sportsmanship.”
Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies thanked the coaches, parents and volunteers who had contributed to the athletes’ journey, saying it took a whole community to raise an Olympian.
“All these athletes have come from grassroots community sport and they have been able to play a sport because volunteers marked the lines on the field, people remembered to cut the oranges and keep score and someone cared enough to wash the team shirts,” Ms Davies said.
This year, almost half of WA’s team so far are debutantes, including triathlete Ryan Bailie, cyclist Sam Welsford, swimmers Tamsin Cook and Brianna Throssell, while hockey player Fergus Kavanagh and water polo player Gemma Beadsworth will be competing at their third Games.