Indige­nous ath­letes com­pet­ing at the high­est level

Dubbo Photo News - - Sport -

A YOUNG rugby league fa­natic from Dune­doo who has been so im­pres­sive on and off the field has been awarded the Far West Rugby League Academy Award.

“Kaleb Kear­ney was cho­sen not only be­cause he is one of our best play­ers, but his at­ti­tude on and off the field is some­thing spe­cial,” NRL De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer By­ron War­ren told me.

“Kaleb’s a real leader and a tough com­peti­tor as well as be­ing thor­oughly pro­fes­sional on the train­ing pad­dock,” By­ron added.

Kaleb was pre­sented with his award by head coach Steve Mclel­land on the Academy trip to New­cas­tle last week­end.

“It was fit­ting that we pre­sented our Un­der-18s tro­phy and the girls’ League Tag player of the year as these were our last games for the squad this year.”

Kaleb will join his Mac­quarie Raiders team­mates at train­ing ahead of an ex­cit­ing Group XI sea­son. AMONGST a record Dubbo Ath­let­ics Club con­tin­gent com­pet­ing in this week­end’s NSW Cham­pi­onships are two promis­ing young Koori stu­dents.

Shanique Dar­ling­ton and Ian Gor­don are dif­fer­ent in age, ex­pe­ri­ence and the events in which they spe­cialise, but they share their Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture.

Both have ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions in their first year in the sport.

Ian has made it for the Un­der-17s shot put.

“He is a nat­u­rally strong ath­lete who will only get bet­ter over time. I still re­mem­ber the first time I saw him throw the put – my jaw hit the ground,” coach Ja­son Chat­field told Photo News.

“Ian’s mum Belinda is thank­ful for the sup­port and train­ing the team has re­ceived in­clud­ing David Low and Ber­nadette El­lis who have worked on his tech­nique over the last eight months. She is grate­ful for the fam­ily as­pect of ath­let­ics,” Ja­son added.

“Now Miss Shanique is some­thing else. I first spot­ted her run­ning in a re­lay last year for her school, Orana Heights. I was just blown away at how easy she ran. Al­most Cathy Free­man like.

“I said to her mum straight away that Shanique needs to be do­ing ath­let­ics. Mum brought her along to one of our train­ing ses­sions and asked if I would be happy to coach her. I said yes!” Ja­son said.

Shanique has qual­i­fied for the 100m, long jump, and hur­dles. It is an amaz­ing feat in her first year, ac­cord­ing to Ja­son.

“I don’t know of too many kids that can make it to State for three events in their first year of ath­let­ics. I truly think she can be any­thing with the


Shanique Dar­ling­ton is a nat­u­ral on the track.


Shanique Dar­ling­ton and Ian Gor­don. right coach­ing and guid­ance.”

Ja­son is ex­cited about what this week­end will bring.

“These kids have a big fu­ture in ath­let­ics if they stay the course. That’s why I’m al­ways talk­ing to them about their emo­tions and how it can im­pact not only their per­for­mance on the track, but in life as well,” he said with plenty of emo­tion.

If any young ones, par­tic­u­larly Abo­rig­i­nal kids, are in­ter­ested in get­ting into ath­let­ics, they can con­tact the Dubbo Ath­let­ics Club or Ja­son Chat­field on 0498 261 227.



Kaleb Kear­ney was pre­sented with the Far West Academy of the Year Award by By­ron War­ren and Steve Mclel­land.

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