Leonora-raised Winter Olympian Kiara Reddingius celebrates ‘iconic’ Leonora Golden Gift
Leonora-raised Winter Olympian Kiara Reddingius spent the weekend helping local children improve their running and cheering on elite athletes as the patron of this year’s Leonora Golden Gift.
The runner-turned-bobsledder also held up tradition and competed at the event — something she has done every year since the event’s inception in 2003.
Reddingius said everything about the event, even down to the voices of commentators Raf Baugh and Dave Sheehan, made the Leonora Golden Gift a unique weekend.
“It’s iconic, the sound of (their) voices really make the Gift and (they) study so hard to know the athletes and to really get to know the kids, it’s really special,” she said.
“I know it’s such a big journey for (the athletes) and I know it’s a bit out in the middle of nowhere but I really hope that (they) enjoyed the experience.
“I know it’s very unique out here running on the road, and especially for the mile, I like the difference in having those tight corners, it might change the race up a little bit than the standard athletics track.”
Touching on some recent deaths in the community, Reddingius shared her condolences with local families but said she was grateful the event and the team that travels along with it were able to bring some joy.
“It really highlights how much we have to stick together, and I love this event because it brings everyone out,” she said.
“It highlights what the kids can do and highlights the grit that they have in them, and that they’re willing to have a go.”
Reddingius ran in the open 120m sprint, coming in second behind Kiara Speechley, with a time of 14.67 seconds.
She said she hopes local children continue to improve their athletic abilities and come back next year to show off what they have learnt.
“I hope that my story kind of enables people to know that . . . it’s never too late. I started when I was 21 at athletics, I never did any training apart from my Golden Gift training before that,” she said.
“It really highlights that just giving things a go and working really hard can get you to some special places.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails