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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 715

Dr McVEIGH (Groom) (13:40): I rise to speak of a wonderful hard-working community organisation in my electorate: Sports Darling Downs. On Saturday night about 400 of us attended their 18th annual awards ceremony and, once again, it delivered for our community and athletes throughout our region.

They have raised more than $800,000 through the community and sponsors—such as Wippells Autos, K&R Plumbing Supplies—to support local athletes in all fields of training, events and, especially, the personal development program Speak up for Sport.

Highlights from Sports Darling Downs, in the past, include Hockeyroos Nikki Hudson and Karen Robertson, Boxer Michael Katsidis, IndyCar champion Will Power and Olympic shot-putter Justin Anlezark. Taking out the 2016 Senior Sport Star of the Year award was Claire Keefer, who made her Paralympics debut with a bronze medal in the women's shot-put at Rio. Swimmer Jacob Whale took out the Junior Sport Star of the Year while Wayne Beeston—a great friend of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, and of mine—was also announced as a life member of Sports Darling Downs for his services to schools sports, young children and their families over many years.