Two of Deniliquin’s sporting stars were honoured at the Edward River Council’s Australia Day Citizen of the Year awards, with Elena Mulham and Charlie Hillier joint winners of the Junior Sports Award on Friday.
Both Elena and Charlie had a big year in 2017, with the pair representing Riverina and NSW in their respective sports.
For Elena the day was made extra special with her mother Leanne Mulham the recipient of the Senior Sports Award.
‘‘It was a pleasant surprise to have won but to win the same year as my daughter was great,’’ Leanne said.
‘‘It’s a lovely gesture that someone went out of their way to nominate me for this.
‘‘Both myself and Elena are very honoured with our awards.’’
Leanne was presented with her award for an outstanding contribution to the local community through her roles on the executive committees of the Deniliquin Swimming Club, Deniliquin Little Athletics and Deniliquin Soccer Club.
She has played a key role in ensuring these sporting clubs remain sustainable into the future through her work in securing grants, instigating membership drives and developing sporting facilities.
‘‘I don’t do these things for recognition,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s about giving kids all these opportunities and seeing the excitement they have being involved in sports.
‘‘It’s very rewarding, especially seeing the joy when someone breaks a PB (personal best) and particularly in the athletics club, watching kids with disabilities be able to participate.
‘‘I encourage all parents to not just drop their kids off to sport but to get involved in some capacity.’’
Elena had a busy year in 2017 completing her primary schooling at Deniliquin North Public School, while racking up a string of sporting achievements.
She represented Riverina at the NSW PSSA State Athletics Championships in both shotput and discus, where she won two silver medals, going on to represent NSW at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide.
Elena also currently holds more than 25 school, zone and Riverina records across soccer, swimming and athletics.
‘‘She (Elena) puts a lot of hard work into her sport,’’ Leanne said.
‘‘I’m quite proud of her achievements but I’m mostly proud of the fact that she’s very well balanced and doesn’t let her achievements go to her head.’’
Charlie has also had a busy schedule throughout 2017, after being named in the State Cricket Squad and selected as a member of both the Riverina Primary School Sports Association (PSSA) cricket and football teams.
Over the past 12 months, he has also represented Riverina at the PSSA State Football Carnival in Parkes and the PSSA State Cricket Carnival in Orange.
The highlight for the young Deni Rams footballer was competing as a member of the State PSSA football team at the National Carnival in Darwin.
Charlie has also played last week in the Under 13s State Challenge cricket competition.
■ More details on Charlie’s week of cricket on page 15.