Mid West Junior sports award has highlighted talent of pro water skier, Olympic & Commonwealth Games athletes

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Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
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Ryan Green in a file image doing a night jump in PerthPicture: Ben Crabtree
Camera IconRyan Green in a file image doing a night jump in PerthPicture: Ben Crabtree Credit: Ben Crabtree/WA News

Of all the categories at the Mid West Sports Awards, perhaps the junior sports star of the year award captures the imagination the most.

Midwest Sports Federation chair Mike Bowley said the award highlighted young, talented athletes who would often go on to make their mark on the world, like water skier Ryan Green.

“He went on to be a world champion,” Bowley said.

“Competing on the world stage is really a fantastic achievement.

“The thing about having these awards is it recognises that talent early, and by recognising the talent and promoting it, it gives people the opportunity to further their journey in the sport.

“It helps them (the athletes) in their career. It highlights that they can go further.”

Green won the award six times in the 1980s and 90s.

He was ranked No.1 in the world as a junior and became World Games champion in 2005 before winning bronze at the World Championships in 2011.

He is far from the only talented youngster to win. Hockey player Fergus Kavanagh, a two-time winner, went on to win two gold medals with the Australian team at the Commonwealth Games, in 2010 and 2014, and bronze at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Former tennis pro Darren Patten was the winner in 1987.

Gymnast Salli Wills won a gold medal in balance beam at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria — she won the Mid West junior award the same year.

Badminton player Karen Jupp, who won the award four years in a row between 1981 and 1985, went on to win bronze at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in 1986.

East Fremantle colt and 2022 draft fancy Jed Hagan won in 2018 and 2019.

Paris Olympics BMX hopeful Corey Taylor won in 2013, while Dwayne Simpson won in 1997, four years before his debut with the Fremantle Dockers.

The list of winners of the Junior Aboriginal Sports Star of the Year — amalgamated with the junior award after 2012 — is at least as impressive.

Olympic boxer Anthony Little is an alumnus of that prize, while Carlton player Jack Martin is a three-time winner.

St Kilda’s Paddy Ryder and Nickiesha Hodder, an under-20 Australian silver medallist in javelin, are previous winners.

Nominations for the awards’ 10 categories close on November 7. Go to www.mwsf.org.au

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