Anna Gleeson knows better than most the feeling of excitement that comes with being recognised for excellence in sport.
She was rewarded for her hard work in 2019 when she became the Port Macquarie-Hastings Sportsperson of the Year.
Gleeson achieved the pinnacle of sports recognition in the Hastings after she starred for the winning Australian Women's 35 team at the Touch World Cup in Malaysia and received the Most Valuable Player of the final.
She was part of the NSW Women's 35 team to defeat Queensland 2-1 in the 2019 State of Origin; receiving NSW Senior Women's Touch Football player of the year and to top off a busy year, coached the winning Port Macquarie Makos U10 girls' side in the 2019 touch football Junior State Cup Northern Conference.
COVID-19 forced the cancellation of last year's awards, but Gleeson was on hand to help launch the 2021 version on July 20.
"It's really important for kids to get some recognition from somewhere else that's not just their club or association and so their peers can see what they're doing and how successful they are," she said.
Nominations for the annual awards are now open with the awards delivered in collaboration with Port Macquarie Hastings Council and the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise.
"There are so many young kids out there playing all sorts of sports. That's what I saw ... the nominees of some of these young kids I wasn't really aware of," Gleeson said.
"For them to get some exposure is great, but for my sport - touch footy - it's growing and there's a lot of great young players with potential to play for their country so it's exciting."
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council mayor Peta Pinson said it was exciting for the awards to again be open following the cancellation of them in 2020.
"I encourage anyone who is a sportsperson to apply," she said.
"There are thousands of dollars in funding and prizes available and the mayor's sporting fund through council is offering $4000 as a scholarship to a worthy recipient.
"Anyone from the end of 2019 through to now that has achieved anything in their chosen sport can certainly step forward and apply."
The highly sought-after awards now include eight categories:
- Wayne Richards Sporting Scholarship
- Regional Australia Bank Sportsperson of the Year
- AusSport Scoreboards Junior Sportsperson of the Year (Primary School age)
- Donovan Oates Hannaford Junior Sportsperson of the Year (High School age)
- Patterson Real Estate Junior Team of the Year (18 years and Under)
- Donovan Oates Hannaford Senior Team of the Year
- Laing + Simmons Port Macquarie Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability
- Hastings Physiotherapy Sporting Volunteer of the Year
- Greenmeadows Health Centre - Excellence in Sporting Achievements (awarded at judges' discretion from nominees for other awards).
Nominations are now open at sunrise-rotary.org.au/sportsawards/ and will close at midnight on Thursday, 30 September.
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