SHOWCASING CITY: The 24/7 Community Bike Ride are contenders for Event of the Year in the 2012 QT-City of Ipswich Sports Awards.
SHOWCASING CITY: The 24/7 Community Bike Ride are contenders for Event of the Year in the 2012 QT-City of Ipswich Sports Awards. File

Major carnivals in line for regional accolade

THREE major events this year highlighted why the Ipswich region has a fine reputation for initiative and attracting elite talent to the city.

The Festival of Tennis, 24/7 Community Bike Ride and Queensland Rugby League Women's State Championships are finalists in the 2012 QT-City of Ipswich Sports Awards.

One will be named event of the year at Saturday night's prestigious awards function at the Ipswich Civic Centre.

The Festival of Tennis has attracted Australia's most exciting junior players to the city for a number of years.

This year's packed program ran for seven weeks, featuring six events and more than 2130 matches.

The showcase of top junior tennis included the Queensland Junior Clay Court Championships; Optus 12s National Clay Court Championships, Optus 14s National Clay Court Championships, Optus 16s National Clay Court Championships and Gallipoli Youth Club Junior ITF.

The $40,000 City of Ipswich Tennis International attracted some exciting players of the future, including Ipswich talent Ashleigh Barty.

A number of players used the Australian Pro tour tournament at the George Alder Tennis Centre to prepare for the European tour and French Open. They gained valuable world ranking points.

At an important regional level, the second annual 24/7 Community Bike Ride promoted cycling safety as part of an ongoing campaign to secure a major facility in the future.

Nearly 300 people competed in the second ride with strong support by sponsors and the local community.

Driven by Ipswich's young business person of the year Troy Dobinson, the event raised $12,000. That pushed the community fund towards $100,000 in just over 12 months.

"Cycling is a healthy, sociable and environmentally friendly activity," Dobinson said. "Raising awareness of cycling safety will mean even more people decide to get on their bikes."

Another well-received event this year was the Queensland Women's Rugby League state championships at the North Ipswich Reserve.

The championships were run due to a partnership between the Ipswich Rugby League, Ipswich Junior Rugby League, Queensland Women's Rugby League, Ipswich Jets, Australian Rugby League Development and SEQ Division.

A highlight was having Ipswich players like Ali Brigginshaw and Natalie Dwyer share in South East Queensland's undefeated performance in winning the title.

Apart from healthy crowd figures for the grand final day, the event secured bookings at 61 regional hotels and motels over the four days.

The professional approach attracted QRL CEO Rob Moore and ARLC chairman John Grant to attend the event. SEQ Division chairman Peter Betros was delighted with the teamwork, saying the investment in Ipswich was money well spent.



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