Deniliquin junior sports star Elena Mulham won the prestigious honour of the Bernie O’Connor Award at the Riverina Blue awards presentations held in Wagga Wagga on Friday.
The 12 year-old became only the second student from Deniliquin to earn the award, with Nicole Dixon the only other in 2002.
The Bernie O’Connor Award is presented to an athlete with outstanding sporting and personal qualities.
The Deniliquin North Public School student also received a Merit Award for her efforts in athletics.
Elena’s citation for her prestigious awards was as follows:
‘‘Elena is a Year 6 student at Deniliquin North Public School, who eagerly participates in all aspects of school life; she is a hard working student and is focused on achieving her goals, however it is in the sport of athletics that Elena has really excelled.
‘‘Elena’s achievements in athletics throughout 2017 have certainly been outstanding. Her exceptional throwing talents were displayed at the Riverina Athletic Carnival in Albury, qualifying her for the NSW Championships in Homebush.
‘‘With a personal best throw of 36.41m in the discus and a personal best throw of 10.32m in the shot put, Elena placed second in both of these events.
‘‘As a result of these impressive performances, Elena was chosen in the PSSA State Athletics team to represent NSW at the Pacific School Games, in Adelaide (this week).
‘‘Elena’s stellar performances have come as no surprise for those who know her. She began as soon as she was eligible, qualifying to represent Riverina at the age of eight at the NSW PSSA Swimming Championships — an achievement she has repeated for the past five years.
‘‘She has represented Riverina and her state at the NSW and Australian PSSA Athletics Championships over the last three years, with a top four finish in the junior girls discus at the National Titles being her highest accolade.
‘‘However, Elena’s sporting pursuits have not been limited to the sport of athletics in 2017. She has also represented Riverina at the NSW PSSA Swimming Championships and the NSW PSSA Soccer Championships. Therefore, over her primary school years, she has qualified to represent Riverina in nine teams.
‘‘On top of this Elena now holds over 25 school, zone and Riverina records across these sports.
‘‘Her extensive achievements across a variety of sports clearly deserved to be acknowledged.
‘‘Elena is highly regarded throughout the Deniliquin North School community.
‘‘Her principal praises her commitment and enthusiasm and the modest manner in which she accepts success. She is polite and considerate and is a role model for others to look up to. Her maturity has been a wonderful example for all students.
‘‘According to her coaches, Elena excels at balancing a training schedule for both her summer sports of athletics and swimming.
‘‘She is a wonderful listener and always strives to make improvements. She is self-motivated and has the unwavering support of a loving family and the respect of her school peers and local community. Despite her successes she has remained humble and grounded.
‘‘Elena is a wonderful ambassador for her school, area and state. Her commitment, determination, talent and sporting achievements make her a most worthy recipient of a Riverina Merit award.’’
Also recognised for his sporting achievements on the day was South School student Charlie Hillier, who received a Riverina Blue award for his efforts in AFL.
Charlie’s citation for receiving the award was as follows:
‘‘Charlie possesses a great attitude and, regardless of the level he is participating at, exhibits fairness, follows the rules and respects officials, umpires and his opponents. An outstanding sportsman, the Deniliquin South School student always conducts himself with the upmost integrity.
‘‘In 2017, Charlie represented Riverina at the PSSA State Australian Football Carnival. Charlie’s leadership on the ground was evident and he was someone who other players looked up to. He took on board game strategies and, not only did he implement these himself, ensured that his teammates did the same.
‘‘Riverina were successful in winning the state title, with Charlie a vital player in this success.
‘‘Selected for the NSW side, Charlie was recognised as a consistent, solid contributor who demonstrated his versatility in playing a range of positions.
‘‘A pleasure to coach, Charlie conducted himself in a polite and respectful manner at all times.
‘‘Demonstrating maturity, Charlie’s success extended to cricket, again representing Riverina with distinction.
‘‘For his success in AFL and exceptional conduct on the field, Charlie is a worthy recipient of a Riverina Blue and is to be congratulated on his leadership capabilities and positive attitude.’’