Our Lady of Fatimah Catholic Primary School, Caringbah student Keira Toohey has earned an outstanding achievement award at the 2019 Sydney Archdiocesan Primary School Sports Awards.
Year four student Keira was one of 37 young athletes honoured at the awards, with Paralympian and St John Bosco College, Engadine graduate Sarah Walsh presenting the award.
The award was Keira's first, having represented NSW in cross country and athletics at the School Sports Australia Championships in September.
Keira won two gold medals in the 10-years girls' 800 metres and 1500m events.
"It's exciting because it's my first year and I feel grateful that I get this opportunity," she said.
"I like the feeling of joy you get when you compete. It's a great feeling when you are with your teammates."
Older brother Logan also received an award after captaining the NSW touch football team to its first title in six years at the School Sports Australia Championships in Canberra in October.
The year six student also competed for the Mackillop team in state cross country, athletics and rugby league competitions.
Keira and Logan followed in the footsteps of older sister, Mia, who received Primary Sports Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Young athletes saw how far the representative sport pathways offered at Sydney Catholic Schools and a determined attitude could take them when Walsh spoke at the awards.
Walsh broke the Oceania record in the T44 long jump and competed at the Rio Paralympic Games three weeks before sitting her HSC in 2016.
She received three consecutive Primary Sports Awards while in the early stages of an athletics career that saw her win bronze at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai and qualify for her second Paralympic games in 2020.
Walsh was born with fibula hemimelia, a condition where the calf bone is either shortened or missing, and had her right leg amputated at 18-months-old. It was a decision she thanks her parents for and one that set her running towards Paralympic glory.
"Through the sporting system here I've been able to realise my full potential," Walsh told students.
"If it wasn't for the primary school teacher who believed in me and encouraged me to try athletics, I wouldn't be here as a Paralympian today."
The awards recognise young athletes from a pool of 114 Sydney Catholic primary schools who have excelled in sport during the school year. To receive an award, students must have represented the Sydney Archdiocese in a NSW Catholic Primary Schools (NSWCPS) MacKillop team or NSW Primary Schools Sports Association (NSWPSSA) state team and demonstrated a high level of sporting achievement in their schools.
Other Primary Sports Awards recipients from the shire were St Catherine Laboure Catholic Primary School, Gymea quartet Joshua Barr, Cody Ramanauskas, Boston Traino and Taurus Traino.
Indii Bower (Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Menai), Toby Calder (St John Bosco Catholic Primary School, Engadine), John Darley (St Patrick's Catholic Primary School, Sutherland), Isaac Moshonas (St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Como-Oyster Bay) and Jake Ossman (St Raphael's Catholic Primary School, Hurstville) also received awards.