The Illawarra Academy of Sport, at its Annual Presentation Ceremony on Friday 17 February 2012, announced Academy athlete Sarah Carli as its tenth winner of The Tobin Family Award, sponsored by the Illawarra Mercury. The Award, named in recognition of the Tobin Family’s contribution to sport in the Illawarra, was presented by Mr Ian Tobin and Ben Marsh (Illawarra Mercury). Carli in winning the award beat an impressive field of young Illawarra sports achievers including Bridget Mullany (cycling), Sean Mawdsley (lawn bowls), Blake Govers (hockey) and Travis Smyth (golf). Sarah had a sensational year in 2011. She won a number of state and national titles, culminating with her silver medal at the World Youth Championships in July in France. Despite running in lane 8, Sarah ran her own race and after turning into the home straight in fourth place, she unleashed a devastating final sprint to almost grab the leader right on the post. Amongst her wins last year, Sarah set a new meet record last October at the NSW All Schools championships. There not only did she win her 400m hurdles race, but she also beat the record held by former dual World 400m hurdles champion, Jana Pitman. Sarah always gives her best, whether it’s on the track or at training. She is well liked by her peers. She has been a keen supporter of the Academy, as was shown by her willingness to represent the Illawarra Academy of Sport at a Parliament function with all the other regional Academies of Sport. The panel of sports experts who selected Sarah included Peter Bowman former director of the Australian Institute of Sport, retired international pro surfer Michael Lowe, WIN TV presenter Amy Duggan and Mercury journalist Mike Gandon. “The selection panel’s task in identifying a single winner amongst all these fine performances was great” said Peter Bowman. The recipient of The Tobin Family Award, in addition to a trophy, will receive financial scholarship of $5,000 courtesy of the Illawarra Mercury. This makes The Tobin Family Award one of the most significant junior sports development awards in Australia. Past winners include Rebecca Borgo (cycling), Anita Cowley (canoe/kayak), Keiran Govers (hockey), Amiel Cavalier (downhill mountain bike), Sally Fitzgibbons (surfing), Ryan Gregson (athletics), Jackson Law (cycling) and Emma McKeon (swimming). Also recognised on the night were Academy Sport Athletes of the Year: Daniel Constable (Cricket); Bridget Mullany (Cycling); Travis Smyth (Golf); Tegan Richards & Blake Govers (Hockey), Abbie Taddeo (Athletics); Sean Mawdsley (Lawn Bowls); Annabel Bretag (Netball); Colby Hawkins-Boyd (Rugby Union); Stella Crick (Tennis).