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Youth Olympians take out NSW Local Sports Star Awards

31 October 2018

BUENOS AIRES 2018: After a whirlwind campaign in Argentina, the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Team has returned home to claim even more accolades, taking out three awards and two nominations at the 14th annual NSW Local Sports Star awards.

The awards highlight exceptional young athletes from Sydney and the Central Coast, with the nominees published each week in NewsLocal's community newspapers.

Tennis player and YOG silver medallist, Rinky Hijikata, took home the award for the Northern District Times.

"It's such an exciting time for tennis in Australia," the 17-year-old said.

"There are so many really talented junior men and women coming through and I'm really keen to head into this upcoming summer of tennis."

Along with bringing home a medal in the men's doubles  from Buenos Aires, Hijikata took part in all four junior grand slams and the junior Wimbledon, this year.

Liam Christie

"I've been travelling a lot, so it's been really good to be able to spend some time with my family before getting back into competition."

Trampolinist and Youth Olympic teams gold medallist Liam Christie claimed the prize for the Rouse Hill Times, sharing his excitement via social media,

“So honoured to receive the Junior Sports Star award for 2018. Good to see a few familiar faces and be surrounded by some sporting idols.”

Nacra 15 sailor Will Cooley took out the award for the Southern Courier, while 400m runner Keegan Bell and fencer Robert Ciccarelli were also nominated for their respective local papers.

Will Cooley

PyeongChang 2018 snowboard cross silver medallist Jarryd Hughes and Rio Olympic sprinter Jess Thornton, who are both previous recipients of these awards, were on hand to present the winners with their trophys.

"It's so great being back at the Local Sports Star awards," Thornton said.

"It's fantastic being able to celebrate the achievements of all these incredible young athletes and to recognise the hard work they've put in, as well as the efforts of their parents, coaches and supporters who helped them get to where they are today."

The Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympian said that the young talent coming through Australia's sport scene spur athletes like herself to reach greater heights.

"There are so many young athletes coming through that push us to be better. Even at age 20, I feel like a veteran now and it's a really exciting time heading towards Tokyo 2020."

Several special guests also attended the event, including rugby league's Nathan Hindmarsh, Josh Mansour and Steve Mortimer, athletic's Brandon Starc and Youcef Adbdi, along with netballer Sarah Klau.

These young athletes now join the ranks of Canoe Slalom World Champion Jessica Fox, Matilda Ellie Carpenter, cricketer and footballer Ellyse Perry, 400m runner Bendere Oboya, and Olympic boxer Jai Opetaia as award recipients.

Liana Buratti
olympics.com.au

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