MP Joel Fitzgibbon acknowledges achievements of Muswellbrook trio Heidi Richards, Lluka Moffitt and Jack Haylen, Branxton’s Elaina McClung and Bulga’s Jordan Jones

HUNTER MP Joel Fitzgibbon acknowledged the talent and achievements of the electorate’s young sporting stars at a presentation event hosted in Cessnock on Tuesday afternoon.

Twenty-six locals between the ages of 12 and 18 years have been awarded Commonwealth Local Sporting Champions Grants, which recognise athletes’ feats while supporting their competitive endeavours with a cash bonus.

In 2018, the scheme acknowledged the distance many young, regionally-based athletes travel to compete in their chosen fields with increased funding available for people who travel more than 800 kilometres.

Successful applicants received between $500 and $750 to contribute towards the cost of attending their championships.

Mr Fitzgibbon was impressed by the diverse range of sports the successful sporting champions represented, which include gymnastics, barefoot water-skiing, BMX bike riding, baseball, netball, rugby league, volleyball, football, diving, touch and hockey.

“Participation in sport is not only a positive for physical health but it teaches young people important foundations for life like honesty, respect, teamwork, fair play and the ability to follow rules,” he said.

“It’s clear the young people who have received Local Sporting Champions Grants have shown extraordinary dedication and drive to reach an elite level of competition.

“I would also like to acknowledge the parents and carers, sporting coaches and the many volunteers at local sporting clubs who have contributed to the sporting success of young people in the Hunter electorate.”

2018 Hunter Local Sporting Champions

Nate Cox (Cameron Park) BMX Australia - Australian National Championships

Chelsea Webb (Cessnock) Cessnock District Netball Association - NSW State Age Championships

Lara Perkins (Millfield) Kurri Kurri Netball Association - NSW State Age Championships

Jasmine Kerr (Cessnock) Netball NSW – NSW State Age Championships

Tee-Jay Russo (Wyee) NSW Barefoot Water-Ski Club - 2018 Australian National Barefoot Water-ski Championships

Lluka Moffitt (Muswellbrook) Muswellbrook Netball Association – NSW State Age Championships

Tylor Dodd (Edgeworth) Newcastle - Senior League Championships

Emily Dobbins (Cameron Park) Macquarie Shores - 2018 Australian Age Swimming Championships

Elaina McClung (Branxton) WAWA - 2018 World Barefoot Water Ski Championships

Macy Blake (Bellbird Heights) Kurri Kurri Netball Association - NSW State Age Championships

Vienna Couper (Toronto) Westlakes Netball Club – NSW State Age Championships

Heidi Fricker (Fassifern) New South Wales Diving - National Age Diving Championships

Kaylan Moloney (Coal Point) Gymnastics NSW - Australian Gymnastics Championships

Madison Knott (Kearsley) Cessnock District Netball Association - NSW State Netball Championships

Jesse Knight (Abernethy) Newcastle Hockey - Hockey NSW Under 18 Boys State Field Championships

Chloe Patch (Cessnock) Cessnock District Netball Association – NSW State Age Netball Championships

Jordan Jones (Bulga) Newcastle Baseball Association - National Senior League Championships

Ellie-Jane Metcalfe (Cessnock West) Cessnock District Netball Association – NSW State Age Championships

Heidi Richards (Muswellbrook) Muswellbrook Netball Association - NSW State Age Championships

Georgia Chapple (Cameron Park) Newcastle Netball Association - NSW State Age Championships

Emelyn Ostenfeld (Bonnells Bay) NSW State Volleyball - Australian Junior Volleyball Championships

Tomasz Kowalski (Cameron Park) NSW Schools Football - NSW All Schools Football Championships

Jack Haylen (Muswellbrook) Hunter - NSW PSSA

Tahni Beckett (Cessnock) Cessnock Netball Association – NSW State Age Championships

Floyd Tighe (Edgeworth) Touch Football Australia - Youth World Cup Tour

Ebony Deaves (Cessnock) Cessnock District Netball Association – NSW State Age Championships