Hollie Matthews, 12, Sharmeeka McPaul, 13, Kynan Davis, 15, Macie Nixon, 17, Alissa McWhirter, 17, Malachi Canning, 12, Joshua Lee, 15, Zachary Norris, 15,  receive Local Sporting Champions Awards and travel grants from MP Kevin Hogan.
Hollie Matthews, 12, Sharmeeka McPaul, 13, Kynan Davis, 15, Macie Nixon, 17, Alissa McWhirter, 17, Malachi Canning, 12, Joshua Lee, 15, Zachary Norris, 15, receive Local Sporting Champions Awards and travel grants from MP Kevin Hogan. Marc Stapelberg

Meet 19 young athletes set to excel in their chosen sports

TRAVELLING to compete in sporting events will be just that little bit easier for 19 young Northern Rivers athletes after receiving Local Sporting Champions Awards and travel grants.

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan hosted a morning tea event for the athletes at his office on Friday, where he acknowledged their sporting success.

"Those who received the Awards have excelled themselves representing the Northern Rivers on the national and state stage,” Mr Hogan said.

Award recipients had achieved success in a range of sports, including athletics, basketball, rugby union, baseball, surfing and equestrian.

Mr Hogan presented the young athletes with a certificate and cheque to help assist them with transportation costs, and said he was " very pleased to be able to help these families with financial support through these grants”.

"The Northern Rivers has produced some outstanding sportspeople in the past, and it is important that we support the next crop of our local sporting talent,” Mr Hogan said.

"Unfortunately succeeding in sport doesn't just take talent and determination - parents also often have to put their hands in their pockets to get their children to competitions.”

Mr Hogan said constant travelling is a necessary part of life for these young athletes in order for them to both compete, and in some cases, travelling long distances just to be able to train.

Joshua Lee is one such athlete.

The wildwater canoeing champion said training for his sport was very difficult on the Northern Rivers, with most training facilities located as far away as Victoria.

Mr Lee, 15, said his local training is held mostly on flatwater, and his only chance to train in rapids comes when local rivers flood.

"As soon as it rains, we're packed up to go,” his father laughed.

The Local Sporting Champions program provides financial assistance to young people aged between 12 and 18 years to compete, coach or umpire in their chosen sport.

"Sport is important in the development of young people: it teaches them life-long skills like teamwork, keeps them fit and healthy, and allows them to excel in something they love and enjoy,” Mr Hogan said.

"I encourage any budding champions out there who have the opportunity of competing at a state, national or international event to apply for a grant by contacting my office or checking out the website ausport.gov.au.”

Recipients include:

  • Malachi Canning, 12 of Caniaba, who competed in the NSW PSSA Athletics Championships,
  • Kynan Davis, 15 of East Lismore, who competed in the National Baseball Championships,
  • Joshua Lee, 15 of Goonellabah, who competed in the Wildwater National Championships,
  • Lauvili Lili, 17 of Kyogle, who competed in the NSW State Basketball Cup,
  • Maalik Moston, 13 of East Lismore, who competed in NSW State Surf Life Saving Titles,
  • Bailey Crabtree, 16 of East Lismore, who competed in the NSW All Schools Championships,
  • Jasmine Clarke, 17 of Evans Head, who competed NSW State Basketball Cup,
  • Callum Robson, 18 of Doonbah, who competed in the World Junior Surfing Championships,
  • Vivita Lili, 14 of who competed in the NSW State Basketball Cup,
  • Hunter Roadley, 12 of Nimbin, who competed in the NSW Pssa Championships,
  • Taylor Roberts-Walker, 13 of Dobies Bight, who competed in the NSW Pssa Championships,
  • Zackery McMahon, 17 of Evans Head, who competed in the NSW Surfng Championship,
  • Samuel Ticknor, 17 of Evans Head, who competed in the Australian Surf Festival,
  • Macie Nixon, 17 of Lismore Heights, who competed in the Spalding Waratah Junior Basketball League State Cup,
  • Alissa McWhirter, 17 of Goonellabah, who competed in the NSW State Basketball Cup,
  • Rachael Barlow, 16 of Tullera, who competed in the World Equestrian Games,
  • Zachary Norris, 15 of Lismore, who competed in the U15s Junior Rugby Union Gold Cup,
  • Hollie Matthews, 12 of Goonellabah, who competed in the NSW Pssa Primary Touch State Championships, and
  • Sharmeeka McPaul, 13 of Blakebrook, who competed in the Under 15s State Softball Championships.