Grants give locals a sporting chance: State School Girls water polo

Katherine Pirone , Koskei Partington-Hopes, Perth MHR Alannah MacTiernan, Caitlin Hill and Aron Thian. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        d444614
Katherine Pirone , Koskei Partington-Hopes, Perth MHR Alannah MacTiernan, Caitlin Hill and Aron Thian. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        d444614

IN summer, Katherine Pirone trains up to four hours a day as a member of the under-17s State School Girls water polo team.

The Mt Lawley resident (15) was one of 15 sports people in Perth to win a $500 Federal Government grant to represent WA at the National State School Girls competition.

Katherine applied for a grant ahead of the under-17 National Championships in Sydney in June, where they won bronze.

“I’ve been going on trips since 2012, but this is my first time with the state team,” Katherine said. “It’s pretty competitive in NSW; there were a lot more competitions for their teams to compete in and more clubs to compete against.”

Katherine’s mum Sylvana Miranda said she had organised fundraisers to pay for travel to interstate competitions.

“There have been a lot of cupcake stalls and sausage sizzles,” Ms Miranda said. “The money made a big difference because they had to get the uniforms and that sort of thing.”

The grants were introduced in 2012 for state-level sports people aged 12 to 18.

Highgate resident Aron Thian (13) won a grant ahead of the under-15 National Fencing Competition in Sydney.

“I made the top 16 this year but I performed a lot better last year when I made the top eight,” Aron said. “You have to trick your opponent; strength and speed are not quite as important as in other sports because you really have to think about it.”

Perth MHR Alannah MacTiernan said the grants were a “fantastic opportunity” for kids to represent their state.

“It is quite expensive for parents to fund their kids going over to do developmental work; it costs a couple of thousand to take their kid interstate,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“It’s particularly acute here in WA and most things are based over east but if we’re going to give our kids the opportunity to work their way up the ranks, we need to be able to help them.”

Grants for competitions in November and December close on October 31. To apply, visit www.ausport.gov.au/participating/local_sporting_champions