Cobram East’s Damian Van De Berg has been named a finalist in the esteemed 2017 Victorian Sport Awards.
Van De Berg was recognised for a highly successful run last year in which he officiated state, national and international swimming meets.
He was named a finalist in the Victorian official of the year category.
‘‘It’s a sport I love to be involved with and, in that, you have the opportunity to get people involved from grass roots all the way up to the international stage,’’ Van De Berg said.
‘‘That gives great opportunities to meet some amazing people and build a big network of friends all over the world.
‘‘It makes the sacrifices of not seeing friends and family during that time all worth it.’’
With a difficult job ahead, 32 Victorian sportspeople were appointed to the Victorian Sport Awards’ judging panels to decide the winners across 18 categories.
This year’s judges include Netball Victoria chief executive officer Rosie King, Olympic runner Steve Moneghetti, four-time AFL premiership coach David Parkin and former Australian basketballer Lindsay Gaze.
The awards night will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre next Wednesday.
Van De Berg officiated at such events as the Yarrawonga Skins for club and district, the Victorian Open Championships, the National Open Water Championships in Adelaide and the World Masters Games in Auckland.
‘‘I have many highlights from my career, in many different ways,’’ Van De Berg said.
‘‘The world championships in Kazan, Russia, in 2015 was one. I’ve been to Hong Kong three times as well, and they’re so great because those ones are at the elite level.
‘‘That’s great racing, whereas the Masters (in Auckland) is quite a contrast. There’s quite a different level of swimmers, with different age ranges. But wherever you go you’re always representing your club, which is special too.’’
Van De Berg is involved in other administrative areas of swimming in Victoria. He is a Swimming Victoria director, an open water and pool referee, assessor and presenter and mentor to other technical officials.
He is committed to continuous training and learning and is currently on the FINA Open Water Referee List at number 12 until 2020.
He works with both national and international technical officials to develop his knowledge and expertise in the field.
Van De Berg was also named Swimming Australia’s 2017 technical official of the year.
He is up against Chris Hope (soccer), Brad Mannix (gymnastics) and John Roberts (bowls) for the Victorian official of the year award.
- Fraser Walker-Pearce