Sport

Past winner is an inspiration

by
March 16, 2017

Guest speaker: Athlete Alana Baldi is the only person to with both Junior and Senior Sports Star awards.

If you name a sport, Alana Baldi has probably played it, supported it or likely coached it.

The guest speaker at last week’s Sports Star of the Year Awards at the Cobram Barooga Golf Club, Baldi has a passion for sport in general but particularly for athletics and cricket.

She’s the only person so far to have taken out both the Senior and Junior Sports Star of the Year awards, and both times for athletics — junior in 2005 and senior two years later in 2007.

She won gold in her debut at the Arafura Games in 2005 for hammer throw, as well as bronze in discus and shotput and in 2009, won bronze in the under-23 women’s hammer throw at the Australian Athletics Championships.

‘‘My passion for athletics is still there, although I’ve missed the last three seasons due to injury and surgery,’’ Baldi said.

She’s back training for cross-country, track and field and women’s AFL, where she’s involved with the Shepparton Bears women’s team.

‘‘It’s great that there are so many opportunities for women in different sports now,’’ she said.

As well as working as a development co-ordinator for Cricket Victoria, Baldi is also studying a Masters of Sport Science and a Certificate IV in Disability.

Baldi also spoke of her passion in coaching cricket, especially all abilities cricket.

She’s currently an assistant coach for the Melbourne Renegades All Abilities cricket team and is also coach of Cricket Shepparton’s under-16 female teams, as well as a number of Northerners sides.

‘‘The biggest reason is also because I want to help people succeed in sport — people with a disability are often segregated,’’ she said.

Baldi said her role in coaching and playing had allowed her to travel the world, something she hoped to continue in her role in coaching all abilities teams.

She’s also recently returned from New Zealand, where she was a track and field assistant coach and carer for the Special Olympics Victoria at the Trans Tasman Games.

Growing up in the region, she said many of the problems she faced as a young athlete training were some that were still being faced by local athletes today.

‘‘It’s great to see we have other athletes in the region pursuing the sport,’’ she said.

‘‘Training can be hard sometimes in regional areas — we don’t have the same facilities and we have to travel a lot.

‘‘Growing up, it was a really hard sport to succeed in because most of the facilities are in Melbourne.

‘‘It’s a big adjustment to travel to Melbourne all the time, but it’s definitely worth pursuing.’’

She encouraged all nominees to continue pushing the boundaries in their sports.

‘‘Regardless of whether you’ve got a disability or not, it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it,’’ she said.

‘‘If you really want to achieve something in a short timeframe, you’ve got to push for it, and for me with Special Olympics and coaching funding it’s going to become more competitive.’’

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