Indigenous athletes competing at the highest level
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.