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MARA STRANSKY OFFICIALLY RECOGNISED AS AUSTRALIA’S TOP FEMALE SAILOR She was officially name as the Female Sailor of the Year at a glittering ceremony at the recent Australian Sailing Awards. She was absolutely glowing at the gala awards night held at the National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour. The awards were held ‘in person’ for the first time since 2019 (due to Covid restrictions}. The Australian Sailing Awards are a celebration of the sport and its community, with success celebrated from the grassroots level through to high performance on the international stage. The Male Sailor of the Year was fellow Australian sailing legend Tom Slingsby OAM, capped off an incredible season with a record-equalling fifth Male Sailor of the Year Award, drawing level with recently retired Olympic legend Mat Belcher OAM. Mara has gone from strength to strength since coming home with a florist and a win in the final race of the Tokyo Olympics in her Laser class. She has had multiple wins of late and is aiming to be at the highest levels for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Mara, currently ranked third in the world in the ILCA 6 class, won Female Sailor of the Year ahead of a strong field including Nina Curtis and Zoe Thomson. Her win at Kiel Week along with top-10 finishes at the World Championships, Hyeres Olympic Week and Allianz World Cup Almere regattas were enough to see her claim her maiden victory in the female category. As well as the Female Sailor of the year trophy, Mara's name goes on the combined perpetual trophy with the male sailor of the year Tom Slingsby. Her name joins the likes of Jessica Watson, John Bertrand and Iain Murray and a host of Australia's great names in sailing.

• Mara Stransky with her Female Sailor of the Year Trophy GOLFER KANE LEONARD SETS HIS SIGHTS FOR BERLIN SPECIAL OLYMPICS AFTER ‘GOLD MEDAL’ EFFORT IN TASSIE! Macleay Island golfer, young Kane Leonard, has won the Gold Medal at the Special Olympics golfing event recently held in Tasmania. As a result of his success, Kane is now invited to represent Australia in Golf at the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Berlin, Germany, in June 2023. Kane finished well ahead of the field after four days of 18-hole competition in Hobart. He had two rounds of 80 and two rounds of 75 off-the-stick to win the event. He is now keen to head to Berlin for the Special Olympics, and fund-raising wizard, Rhonda Chapman, is keen to help him get there. It was Rhonda and her team of helpers who raised the funds in the first place to get Kane to Hobart. Now she is determined to do the same thing to get the aspiring young golfer to Berlin. Rhonda Chapman told The Friendly Bay Islander: “I will be asking the island community for help to raise the $9000 that will be required to send Kane to Berlin for a chance of a lifetime for him. “And what a wonderful thing it will be for him and the Bay Island Golf Club, of which he is a member,” Rhonda said. His achievements have been stunning considering he has been diagnosed as autistic. Kane showed a keen interest in golf at an early age, thanks to his family’s interest in the sport. Bay Islands Golf Club senior players Jeff Ridge and Terry Fry took him under their wings when young Kane started swinging a club in 2012. To say golf has played a major part in his development and life, would be an understatement. Jeff Ridge tells us that Kane Leonard is a ‘very special young man indeed’. “He loves golf, and playing the game has helped shape his life in a very positive way. He is definitely going places.” Kane has gone from strength to strength, winning at club level and in special sports events. Officially a member of the club since 2014, Kane already has some pretty impressive accomplishments to his name. As a member of the Bay Islands Golf Club, he has won honour board events including the ‘Medal of Medals’ twice, “B” grade Matchplay Championship, and amazingly, the Open Matchplay Championship.

• Kane Leonard and place-getters at the medal presentation in Hobart.



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