Four major awards were presented, as more than 100 guests assembled to applaud the special achievements of Gippsland Sports Academy members and to congratulate its 56 graduating athletes.
The athletes, families and guests were also inspired by this year’s guest speaker Jacqui Cooper. In 2010, the now retired freestyle skier became the first Australian woman to win selection for five Olympic Games. She went to Lillehammer (1994), Nagano (1998), Salt Lake City (2002), Turin (2006) and Vancouver (2010).
…with notes provided by the Gippsland Sports Academy
The Tim Forsyth Award for Sporting Excellence: Jordyn Cargill of Traralgon.
Jordyn Cargill is a 16 year old National Performance swimmer and has been the most successful male athlete from Gippsland at the National Swimming Championships for the past 5 years.
Achieving his first National qualifying time at the age of 12, Jordyn has finished in the top 4 of the 400 IM each year since 2017. Jordyn has never missed a final in his main event and has twice won medals finishing 1st as a 13 year old, and 3rd as a 14 year old. Training 10 times a week, Jordyn has the utmost dedication and attitude towards his swimming, and his ability to race at the national level is unmatched across regional Victoria.
The Darrell White Award recognising high achievement in a team-orientated sport: Chris Axford of Korumburra.
Chris is diligent with his volleyball training. He has excellent attendance and communication with his coaches, and works hard to make the technical adjustments they suggest.
Chris’s willingness to work with younger and less experienced athletes is very impressive and shows his outstanding character. He is a long-time GSA athlete who has shown long-term dedication to the volleyball program. By Chris winning this award, it shows by example how other young athletes in the program can become excellent athletes and exceptional people.
The David Drane Award for encouragement: Olivia Baillie of Traralgon.
Olivia is a determined young swimmer who has worked extremely hard to achieve her 100 and 200 backstroke National times in her first season of training at that level.
During Victoria’s lockdowns last year, 14 year old Olivia dedicated herself to building fitness and strength, which led to achieving her first two National times in quick succession. Most athletes like Olivia usually have years of training before they reach their goals,
Olivia shows all the marks of a promising national swimmer through her commitment to training and her amazing work rate. Olivia takes feedback and advice very well, and is eager to improve her ability and grow into a very strong and conditioned athlete.
The Phil Shelley Award for service to the Gippsland Sports Academy and sport in Gippsland: Keith Ferguson of Sale.
For the last two years, Keith has volunteered his time as co-head coach of GSA’s Clay Target Shooting program, specialising in skeet and sporting disciplines.
Keith has had an impressive sporting career himself, which includes:
2016 Rio Olympics 10th place (highest finish from an Australian in mens skeet)
2012 London Olympics 20th place
2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games 8th place
4 x World Championship teams
17 x World Cup teams
4 x Oceanian Championship teams (1 x Gold, 1 x Silver, 2 x Bronze)
4 x National Champion Gold, 4 x runner-up
4 x National Commonwealth Champion Gold, 6 x runner-up
18 x state titles (Victorian, NSW, South Australian, Queensland, Western Australian & NT)
National record (shot in Australia) in qualification 124/125 and in final 59/60
To have Keith’s expertise available to the GSA’s clay target shooting athletes has been invaluable and certainly worthy of receiving the Phil Shelley Award.