New awakening for students

THE Olympic dream is alive and well in Trinity Catholic College student Sophie Rodda.

The Year 11 student has been playing hockey with East Lismore since the age of four and is trying out this weekend for a place at the North Coast Academy of Sport.

So she was pleased to be among a handful of students chosen to meet yesterday with kayaking champions Jacqui and Kate Lawrence.

Jacqui Lawrence won a silver medal in the K1 slalom at the Olympic Games in Beijing, and Kate earned the title of 2008 World Cup Champion in the K1 slalom.

“It was pretty exciting to hear what the Lawrence sisters had to say,” Sophie said.

“But I think meeting them makes it (elite sporting success) seem almost harder. Its just getting a sense of the level of commitment required.”

Trinity student Jonathan See, who plays first grade soccer with Richmond Rovers, said he had always considered Olympic-level success to be beyond the reach of regional kids like himself.

That is, until he heard about the humble origins of the Lawrence sisters, who grew up in Old Bonalbo and trained on a dam on their property.

“Hearing their story inspires you to be the best you can be,” Jonathan said.

Jacqui Lawrence spoke yesterday of her determination to make the Olympic team after missing out on a place in the national team and a spot at the Australian Institute of Sport.

“That setback helped me because it gave me an opportunity to try different things,” she told the students.

“You need to be motivated and determined and always try your best.

“You can take that attitude and apply it to anything you want to do.”

Member for Lismore Thomas George was beaming with pride at the event, which was hosted by Summerland Credit Union and attended by Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell and Lismore deputy mayor Vanessa Grindon-Ekins.

Mr George was prepared to be reprimanded for interjecting in NSW Parliament, just so he could ensure the home town of the Lawrence sisters was correctly recorded in Hansard.

“I am so proud. Bonalbo is one of the lowest socio-economic areas in Australia and look what they have achieved!”

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