Football and some more unusual sports dominated the Tamworth Regional Sports Awards announced last night.
The Tamworth Regional Sports Awards recognise proud and strong sporting culture and achievements of individuals, teams and organisations across the Tamworth region. The Tamworth Regional Sports Awards are run by Tamworth Regional Council and supported by Intersport Tamworth. Three of the awards went to football codes, while leaders in Crossfit, Body Building, Water Polo, Tennis and Cricket took out the balance.
Winner of Coach of the Year and Local Achiever Award was Indigenous Rugby League star and coach Jermain Walford (pictured).
“Honestly, I was pretty thrilled to hear my name as a finalist but officially becoming the Coach of the year over some outstanding individuals in our community is a wonderful feeling, and adding the local achiever of the year just adds the cherry on top,” Jermain said.
“All my achievements this year are off the back of the ongoing support of the Rotary Club First Light of Tamworth. Three individuals in the club never gave up on me and supported me through everything.”
“But overall, the feeling of being recognised for all my hard work and endless hours of volunteering is simply incredible.”
“I went in last night hoping to get at least one victory, but coming out 2 from 2 is sweet like Candy Cane on Christmas.”
Also taking home two awards was the winner of Senior Sports Star of the Year and Overall Sports Star was Jack Douglas, a crossfit champion who is ranked in the top 40 in the world and has represented Australia in the new competitive fitness sport that was started in 2000.
The full list of winners of the 2023 Tamworth Regional Sports Awards is:
Senior Sports Star of the Year and Overall Sports Star of the Year: Jake Douglas
- Represented Australia at the 2023 CrossFit Games held in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
- One of only two Australians competing against the top 40 best CrossFit athletes in the world
- In order to qualify for the CrossFit Games, he competed in a range of sanctioned competitions, including the Torian Pro – where competitors from across Oceania go to compete in order to qualify for the Games
- At the Torian Pro, Jake placed 3rd
Coach of the Year and Local Achiever Award: Jermain Walford
Over the last 12 months has achieved the following in coaching Dreamtime Mixed Opens Touch Football team and at North Tamworth Bears Rugby League Club:
- Attended the National Indigenous Touch Football Knockout with a senior team held in Dubbo in November 2022 and qualified for this tournament again in 2023
- North Tamworth bears U16 head coach and grand final winners
- Nominated for North Tamworth Bears U18 coach
- NRL Touch Pathways National Youth Championships NSW Northern Eagles U16 assistant coach
- Tamworth Titans touch volunteer and coordinator of future Titans school holiday program
- Barefoot boxing coordinator for Healthwise program
- Nominated and successful for rotary youth leadership award
- Recipient of Terry Burgess scholarship
Junior Sports Star of the Year: Jorja Roach
- Played for the Northern Inland Academy of Sport Football Club (NIAS FC) under 15 years team. This team played in a mixed competition in the Premier Youth League that is a Newcastle based competition, and made it into the Grand Final.
- Involved in the Northern NSW Football Talented Sport Program
- Recently competed in the National Futsal Championships held in Brisbane representing the Far Northern NSW U19’s Girls team
- In July, represented Australia in the U17 Futsal Youth Championships held in Las Vegas, where they finished 4th.
- Selected to represent Australia in the female youth national team which will tour Chile in May 2024
Cara Hickson Award for Special Achievement: Mark Cafe
- At 60 years of age, Mark chased his dream of successfully gaining a state and national title in bodybuilding
- Mark won the State Over 60’s Men’s Body Building title, and won the National Over 60’s Men’s Body Building title in the international Natural Bodybuilding Association of Australia.
- Part of his decision to do this was to demonstrate to others that age is not a barrier to achieving your dreams and to inspire his fellow veterans to get active and stay positive about physical and mental health
Ken McKenzie Award for Services to Sport: Joshua McKenzie
- Key club person for the Tamworth Swans
- Ensures everyone has equal opportunity to play football
- Engages in ground manager duties, plays for the men’s team and assists the League by umpiring whenever needed
- Supports the men’s and women’s football game day on a Saturday, and then supports the youth teams with Tamworth Roosters on a Sunday
- Also supports the many Swans netball teams in the club
Junior Sports Team of the Year Award: Tamworth Public School PSSA State Knockout Tennis Team
- First team from Tamworth to have made the final of the Victor J Kelly Championships
- Students’ played schools across the North West, Hunter and North Coast regions prior to making the final at Sydney Olympic Park
- Won the state final to finish as the Victor J Kelly Champions for 2023
- Demonstrated dedication to their team, sport and school and committed to additional training sessions early in the morning before school and during lunch breaks
Senior Sports Team of the Year Award: Tamworth Veterans Cricket Over 50s Team
- Winners of the Doug Walters Cup
- Undefeated in NSW in this competition
- Teams from Newcastle, Central Coast and Mid North Coast combined two teams to take on this team, but were still unable to beat them
- A number of these players have been selected into the Veterans NW team to play in the National Championships to be held in Christchurch
Sport Development Award: Tamworth & District Water Polo
- Tamworth Water Polo, supported by funding from the NSW Department of Regional NSW and Office of Regional Youth, developed a 10-week program aimed to encourage young girls 12-18 years of age to participate in water polo activities to improve physical and mental wellbeing and build resilience
- Out of 45 registered for the program, 29 had never played water polo before
- The program saw KAP7 deliver a skills session with Scott Nicholson and Maud Megens
- Two sessions about empowerment, self-care, mindfulness, wellbeing and personal development were delivered by Bernadette Wood from Evolving Life
- A number of senior players assisted head coach Libby Magann and mentored the younger girls throughout the program
Image: Jermain Walford (centre) with finalists in the Coach of the Year category