Local Sports Stars campaign kicks off this week

Gymnast Gabriel O’Sullivan.
Gymnast Gabriel O’Sullivan.

THE best in local sport and the extraordinary efforts of junior athletes across Perth are set for higher acclaim through Community Newspaper Group’s search for Local Sports Stars.

Launching this week and picking up on Western Australia’s rich tradition of producing top junior athletes and local sports stars, the Local Sports Stars program will shine a spotlight on the State’s young talent and provide a financial helping hand to a number of winners.

And for the first time, our State’s best recognised youngsters will be catapulted onto the national stage to compete against the Local Sports Stars program medallists in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, where they could be crowned an Australian Local Sports Star.

There are five award categories – Junior Sports Star Individual, Junior Sports Star Team, Young Sporting Spirit Individual, Young Sporting Spirit Team and Service To Sport – and in great news, cash prizes for all winners.

So as well as the State team star or future Olympian, the Local Sports Stars program celebrates kids who love to play sport, great teams that are the heart and soul of every weekend sports oval, pool and field – and the mums, dads, grandparents, coaches and supporters who make it all possible.

Gymnast Gabriel O’Sullivan was among the winners of the 2013 Community Newspaper Group Junior Sports Hero program.

Now aged 20 and competing at senior level, O’Sullivan has maintained his determination to compete at the highest level.

He is vying to represent WA at this year’s nationals in May, which itself will act as a selection precursor to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland.

Community Newspaper Group editor-in-chief Matt Zis encouraged members of all local sports clubs to look within and put forward their best and most deserving for well earned recognition.

“Most of today’s national sporting heroes were junior players at a local club somewhere and this program could uncover the next generation,” he said.

“This may be the first big award a budding star wins to kick-start a storied career.

“It’s also a great opportunity to recognise players or teams that have overcome adversity and show appreciation to the hard-working volunteers that our clubs couldn’t do without.”

To nominate a Local Sports Star, visit localsportsstars.com.au.