Canowindra could soon boast another star athlete with local high school student Emily Thomas receiving a grant to assist with her sporting dreams.
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Emily, who competes in hammer throw, is the recipient of a $550.00 grant under Round 4 of the Australian Government's Local Sporting Champions program.
Despite only taking up the sport last year after moving from discus, Emily has already won gold at the Country Athletics Championships in Dubbo, silver at the NSW State Athletics Championships and qualified for nationals this year.
Member for Calare, Andrew Gee visited Emily at Canowindra High School on Thursday to present her with a cheque for the money.
Emily said the grant would help her achieve her goals.
"It's a great opportunity to receive that, I'm very grateful for it and it's a big help," she said.
Emily's mother Annette said the money will go towards costs such as transport and gear.
"It just helps with cost of traveling, her shoes are $200 a go and the gloves and her hammer, it's a big help to us," she said.
"I'd just like to thank Andrew for the grant and helping us help Emily."
Mr Gee said it was important to celebrate the achievements of young people in regional areas.
"She has put her stamp on the sport already in this country," he said.
"I think anything we can do to help her achieve her goals and her dreams, that can only be a positive thing."
He said the funding also assists parents and families getting their kids to competitions.
"It's really hard also for parents of country kids who want to compete at the higher levels because there's a lot of driving, there's a lot of organising and there's a lot of costs associated with it," he said.
"I think people in the cities, they kind of take it for granted."
He said grants of this nature may also be an incentive for other student athletes.
"I also think that they give our young people some encouragement to be recognised by the Australian Government as a sporting champion," he said.
"I think the experience of competing and training, it really is an important thing for young people, the discipline of training, the dedication, I think there are so many great life skills we can learn through sport and hopefully a grant like this gives Emily and other students the encouragement to carry on."
Mr Gee said Canowindra should be proud of Emily's achievements.
"Hammer throwing is a unique sport, it's sport you don't read much about in the headlines but it is nevertheless a really important sport," he said.
"Who knows, maybe one day we may be sitting at home watching Emily on the TV throwing for Australia."
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