Port Douglas Nipper named Junior Athlete of the Year

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Karlie Brady

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Young Port Douglas SLSC Nipper, Rochelle Johnson, was named Junior Athlete of the Year. Image: Karlie Brady.
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The hard work has paid off for young Port Douglas SLSC Nipper, Rochelle Johnson, who has been named Junior Athlete of the Year at the annual Surf Life Saving North Queensland Branch Awards.

Rochelle said she was extremely excited and surprised when she found out she had won.

“It’s pretty cool, and my mum said it’s not an award to be taken lightly,” she said.

The award is about being an all-rounder in different events as well as showing commitment and enthusiasm at training.

“It was a lot of hard work.

“I would like to thank my coach Irene for being so supportive and my mum for driving me to training even when she’s busy,” she said.

Rochelle’s coach, Irene Cats, said Rochelle’s amazing dedication to surf sports, wonderful sportsmanship and great representation for the Port Douglas SLSC and the Surf Life Saving movement, was what had won her the award.

“Rochelle has won everything there was to win in the 2019/2020 season but it's really her amazing commitment to training that makes her the Junior Athlete of the year,” Ms Cats said.

“Rochelle already knows how to set goals for herself to stay motivated and train hard day in day out. She makes the most out of every training session and clinic opportunity offered in our club and branch and usually walks away with an award or special mention for her dedication and sportsmanship.

“She motivates and helps the other kids to be better athletes and she evens inspires her coach, me, to be a better coach so she has the best opportunity possible to make it in the sport.”

During the 2019/2020 season, Rochelle achieved a number of accolades including Port Douglas SLSC U11 Female Age Champion, Port Douglas SLSC U11-U13 Training and Commitment Award, North Queensland Branch U11 Female Age Champion, North Australian Championships U11 Female Age Champion, and she was selected for North Queensland State Team.

“Rochelle is an overall top athlete and person and aspires to be a successful Iron Series athlete one day,” Ms Cats said.

The formal Surf Life Saving North Queensland Branch Awards ceremony could not be held due to gathering restrictions, so lifesavers from across the region gathered virtually to recognise those who have gone above and beyond.

Surf Life Saving Queensland Regional Manager North Queensland, Rob Davidson, said the awards highlighted the recipients' commitment to surf lifesaving in the region.

“I would like to congratulate all award winners and thank them for their dedication to lifesaving over the past year,” he said.

Award winners will now go on to represent the region at the Surf Life Saving Queensland Awards of Excellence held in August.

Other 2019/2020 North Queensland Branch Award winners were:

U14 Junior Surf Lifesaver of the Year – Holly Molloy, Cairns SLSC
U18 Junior Surf Lifesaver of the Year – Oliver Kurukchi, Ellis Beach SLSC
Youth Surf Lifesaver of the Year – Zara Chauvin Hartmann, Cairns SLSC
Surf Lifesaver of the Year – Jeremy Kay, Ellis Beach SLSC
Youth Athlete of the Year – Anastasia Wynberg, Ellis Beach SLSC
Athlete of the Year - Zara Chauvin Hartmann, Cairns SLSC
Masters Athlete of the Year – Anthony Hannan, Cairns SLSC
Official of the Year – Stuart Turrell, Etty Bay SLSC
Sports Rookie Official of the Year – Sharon D’Addonna, Ellis Beach SLSC
Sports Rookie Coach of the Year – Martin Westcott, Etty Bay SLSC
Volunteer Coach of the Year – Colin Cameron, Ellis Beach SLSC
Sports Team Manager of the Year – Lucinda Eavans, Ellis Beach SLSC
Trainer of the Year – Annabel Grant, Cairns SLSC
Assessor of the Year – Colin Sparkes, Cairns SLSC
Innovation Award – Rachael Wynberg, North Queensland Branch
Operations Support Person of the Year – Emile Kurukchi, Ellis Beach SLSC
NQB Andy Frizzell OAM OBE Award – Kylie Worth, Etty Bay SLSC
Volunteer of the Year – Shayne Cini, Etty Bay SLSC
Clive Hammond OAM Silver Medal – Colin Sparkes, Cairns SLSC
Lifeguard of the Year – Jon Murray



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