Game for am­bas­sador roles

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Looklocal - Kristie Lim

FOUR of WA’S best ath­letes were named as Venueswest brand am­bas­sadors this month, to help their quest to qual­ify for the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games and 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Par­a­lympic games.

Dual Olympic kayaker Stephen Bird, 2012 Lon­don Par­a­lympic Games bas­ket­ball sil­ver medal­list Am­ber Mer­ritt, na­tional diver Nikita Hains and 2016 Rio Olympic Games but­ter­fly swim­mer Brianna Throssell re­ceived $5000 to as­sist with train­ing and com­pe­ti­tion ex­penses.

The cheques were part of the State Gov­ern­ment and Venueswest’s Brand Am­bas­sador Pro­gram.

The ath­letes train at Cham­pion Lakes Re­gatta Cen­tre, HBF Sta­dium and Ben­dat Bas­ket­ball Cen­tre re­spec­tively.

Sport and Re­cre­ation Min­is­ter Mick Mur­ray and Venueswest chair­man Richard Muir­head pre­sented the cheques at an event at HBF Sta­dium.

Dianella res­i­dent Hains, who is striv­ing to­wards the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games, said she was grate­ful to have be­come an am­bas­sador.

Bird, who also trains at Bayswa­ter Pad­dle­sports Club and is a mem­ber of Can­ning River Ca­noe Club, said he was work­ing to­wards his last Olympics in Tokyo, af­ter fin­ish­ing eighth in the K1200m in Rio.

“It is a great op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with com­mu­nity and young peo­ple, as well as stake­hold­ers in­volved like Venueswest,” he said.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity to train more pro­fes­sion­ally.

“I be­lieve if I can do the right train­ing, en­joy it and keep stim­u­lated, in Tokyo, there is no rea­son why I can’t go for a medal.

Mer­ritt said the Aus­tralian team would be play­ing world cham­pi­onship qual­i­fiers against Ja­pan and China in Oc­to­ber, which will help them pre­pare for Olympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

“Un­for­tu­nately, our pro­gram here in Aus­tralia did not qual­ify for Rio in 2016,” she said.

Wheel­chair bas­ket­baller Am­ber Mer­ritt, diver Nikita Hains and kayaker Stephen Bird.

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