Students take out top awards

Maribyrnong Sports Academy Sporting Blue award winners. (supplied)

Tara Murray

Maribyrnong Sports Academy students were among those recognised at the Victorian School Sports Awards held earlier this month.

Ten students were recognised at the awards hosted by the Department of Education and School Sport Victoria, which acknowledge and recognise students, teachers, parents and carers in Victorian Government schools who have excelled at or made an outstanding contribution to sport.

The 10 students were recognised with a Sporting Blue award for their outstanding sporting achievement throughout 2021.

Just one male and one female per sport receive an award for secondary college students.

The winners from the sports academy were Max Busuttil (athletics), Charlotte Baskaran (football), Om Neelam (badminton), Tylah Hooper and Lucas Impey (both basketball), Farzan Chowna and Mia Gordon (both cricket), Naomi Chinnama (soccer), George Carasavidis (golf), Sam Lowndes (hockey), Kiralee Collings (netball), Johann Stickland (swimming), Hasali Buddhadasa (table tennis), and Diordan Macababbad and Bridget Mihulka (both tennis).

Academy head of cricket Leigh Holmes said awards like these are pretty special for the school and the students.

“Ten is a lot,” he said. “It might feel like we have a monopoly on the awards. It’s a good reward for all their efforts.

“Both of them [Gordon and Chowna] were a bit surprised about winning this award and didn’t realise they were such a big award until they got to the awards.

‘It’s good to see the kids winning these awards and making state teams. It spreads through the other students and you see improvement.”

Holmes said both Gordon and Chowna were really driven to get better at their sports. Both are part of state programs and Victorian Premier Cricket.

“Mia is a real student of the game and loves her cricket,” he said. “She’s really passionate and really driven to want to get better and seeks feedback to improve her game.

“Farzan is really similar and always wants advice. I give up a lot of my lunchtimes to throw balls to him.

“He works extremely hard on his game and is part of the state team and is at Essendon premier cricket and made his first XI debut this year.

“Both are exciting prospects.”

The two are part of the academy’s 30 strong cricket program. There are 24 boys and six girls in the program.

Holmes said the focus was on making their program different from what they would get at any normal club.

“They are student athletes,” he said. “They do some group training sessions and have specialist training programs.

“The students are at quite a high level.”