CRICKETER Ben Smith and young tennis star Charlotte Nicholls have been recognised as the inaugural Lower Eyre Peninsula Sports Person and Junior Sports Person of the Year winners.
The awards were presented at an awards dinner at Ravendale on Saturday night, sponsored by Magic 89.9, 5CC, Port Lincoln City Council and Rotary Port Lincoln.
Smith was one of two nominees for Qantaslink Sports Person of the Year along with netball player Ana Ackland.
Nicholls was one of 11 nominees for McDonalds Junior Sports Person of the Year with recognised sports including hockey, football, tennis, basketball, boxing and dirt circuit.
In receiving his award Smith said it was a big honour to be recognised at such a ceremony and he hoped it would grow even bigger in the future.
“Rotary in particular have done a fantastic job to promote an event of this calibre and it would be great to continue and build on it for future years,” he said.
Nicholls was a late arrival to the ceremony after her plane had to be turned back to Adelaide but arrived in time to receive her award, which recognised her achievements in netball, basketball and tennis.
Nicholls said it was a big year for her, particularly in tennis as she played in the Foundation Cup and was now living in Adelaide and training with the state squad.
She also had some advice for her fellow developing sportspeople in Port Lincoln.
“If they want to be a professional in their specific sport they need to stick to it and just keep going,” she said.
A highlight of the night was an appearance by Olympic gold medallist Kyle Chalmers, who was also a late appearance due to the same plane delay.
When he arrived MC Ian Beeby interviewed Chalmers on stage about his experiences and the Olympian answered submitted questions from the audience.
Chalmers said in sport it was important to set goals for yourself so you achieved goals each time you train or compete.
“It’s about listening to your coaches with everything they tell you, taking on that advice and enjoying the sport you are in,” he said.
“You can learn something from every single race or every single game, there’s no such thing as a bad race or a bad game as long as you take something away from it.”
Chalmers said it was great to be back in Port Lincoln and meeting the nominated young athletes.
For those behind the scenes the awards night was seen as a great success and is expected to get bigger in the future.
Rotary convener for the awards Adrian Glover said the awards night’s success was coupled with good quality nominees.
“To pull it off with those two things together I think it was beyond our expectations,” he said.
“The plan now is to build on it for next year.”