City's best achievers share Olympic dream
IN an international field of achievers, Deanna Lockett provided an unusual example of sporting excellence at the latest City of Ipswich Sports Awards.
It's rare for an Ipswich-based Winter Olympian to be among the finalists, let alone take out the night's most prestigious honour.
However, The Queensland Times Senior Sportsperson of the Year was thrilled to share in the celebration of Ipswich achievers after representing Australia on ice.
"It's nice to be recognized within Ipswich because I'm sort of flying under the radar a little bit being overseas,'' the short track speed skater said.
"It's special and I have a lot of support behind me to get here.''
That support includes Lockett's parents Leah and Neil who joined the 220 guests at the North Ipswich Corporate Centre on Friday night.
The two-time Olympian and Australian champion was impressed with the quality of the latest senior field, which featured other international performers like Andrew Campbell (Australian baseball team), Archie Graham (tennis world champion), Alyce Stephenson (Commonwealth Games weightlifter), Kurtis Pegoraro (boxing/Muay Thai) and Derek Murray (elite Haidong Gumdo exponent).
"There are some sports I haven't even heard of before,'' Lockett said. "But there is a range of sports up there and it's exciting to see such a high level of participants.''
Lockett, who turns 23 this week, has lived in the Brookwater area in recent years when not overseas for extended periods training or competing for major international competitions, including the Winter Olympics.
Although currently enjoying a break from training to study criminology, Lockett's thoughts were still on retaining her place in the Australian team for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
She'll return to elite competition for next year's world championships and the World Cup series in North America, Asia and Europe.
Knowing that is ahead helps her remain focused on her sporting future while studying.
The junior sporting hall of fame award winner was identified some years ago as a skater with international potential. She showed that to be true in recent years, representing Australia in her 1000m and 1500m events at the 2018 and 2014 Winter Olympics.
She'll put the prizemoney from her latest award back into her training and fitness, as will the City of Ipswich Junior Sportsperson of the Year Tamzin Christoffel.
Like Lockett, taekwondo talent Christoffel is a dedicated and ambitious young person.
The St Mary's College year 12 student is a future Olympic prospect after impressing with gold medal performances in her junior and senior events in Tahiti this year.
After winning her junior President's Cup competition, she was promoted to the senior ranks for the Oceania Championship, where she again came out of top.
"I wasn't expecting to win in Tahiti,'' she said, having been urged by the national coaches to step up into higher level competition.
"It was very tough because it was my first international senior side and I was really nervous and young and didn't know what to expect.''
Christoffel was grateful to receive the City of Ipswich junior award in another quality field of young achievers.
"I wasn't expecting to win because I saw all the names and I saw how many there were,'' Christoffel, 17, said.
But having completed her major competition for this year, she soaked up the wonderful atmosphere at the North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre.
"It (the Ipswich award) really topped it off,'' the Sadliers Crossing teenager said, appreciating the support of her parents and coaches.
"It was really surprising that I won but I'm really happy.''
With a week of year 12 to go, the dedicated student wants to study paediatry or medical research next year at university while continuing her training.
"Hopefully I'll get into an Elite Athlete program and they will help me out and support me in competition seasons,'' she said, regularly training six days a week.
"Tokyo (2020 Olympics) might be too soon but I'm definitely going for it. In 2024, I reckon I'll be there.''
Christoffel is the latest St Mary's College student to win a major Ipswich award. Olympic swimmer Leah Neale was crowned the Senior Sportsperson of the Year in 2016.
The annual City of Ipswich Sports awards are backed by the Ipswich City Council, along with partners The Queensland Times, Aussie Home Loans, University of Southern Queensland and Sport Ipswich.
Look out for more stories on the other category winners this week.
Rugby league legend Shane Webcke was the master of ceremonies on Friday night.
Keep reading your QT this week to see what the former Broncos, Maroons and Australian Test great thought of the incredible Ipswich talent.
2018 City of Ipswich Sports award winners
Senior Sportsperson of the Year: Deanna Lockett (short track speed skating).
Junior Sportsperson of the Year: Tamzin Christoffel (taekwondo).
Sporting Organisation of the Year: Ipswich and West Moreton BMX Club.
Team of the Year: Goodna Sapphires (netball).
Official of the Year: Aaron Gotting (hockey).
Volunteer of the Year: Darryl Kitching (football).
Coach of the Year: Peter Reeves (running).
Masters Sportsperson of the Year: Steven Graham (weightlifting).