Leading by example

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Joh Perry is actively involved in many sports in the region and teaches physical education at Manjimup Primary School.
Camera IconJoh Perry is actively involved in many sports in the region and teaches physical education at Manjimup Primary School. Credit: Tristan Wheeler/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, Tristan Wheeler

Manjimup’s Joh Perry is a regular at sporting events throughout the region and is the president of the Lower South West Athletics Centre.

Joh had the idea to start a chapter of Little Athletics in Manjimup, which has now run for 11 seasons and has seen more than 400 athletes participate in the program during that time.

She took out an advert in the paper and assembled a committee to start the program in the 2007/2008 season.

“That’s why Little Athletics started back 11 years ago, because I saw the kids that were there and I wanted to give them a platform to perform.

“Just to see the overall improvement, we’ve had kids go to State championships and things like that, but that’s not our main focus, our main focus is getting kids out there and involved.”

Athletics is not the only sport that Joh has been involved in locally — she has coached junior basketball and country week hockey for the Warren Women’s Hockey Association.

Joh’s love of sport extends to her professional life as she works as a physical education teacher at Manjimup Primary School and makes it her mission expose kids to as many sports as possible.

“Within my context at school, I try to promote as much as I can all the different sports that are available for our kids to be involved in,” she said.

“I try and introduce as many different sports for the kids at school as well, because you never know, something might pique their interest.”

As well as coaching sport, Joh has had successes playing hockey and later golf.

She represented the State in Little Athletics, field hockey and indoor hockey.

Her proudest sporting achievement came while playing goalkeeper for South Perth, keeping a clean sheet against a Willetton team that featured three contemporary Olympians.

“For me, that was huge to play against three Olympians, playing for Australia at the time, and they couldn’t score a goal against me,” Joh said.

“I doesn’t matter who you are playing against, if you play your own game and you have the desire to do well in that particular thing, it doesn’t matter who your opposition is.”

Joh is also an accomplished golfer, having won the JB Ipsen Memorial Cup in 2019 as well as winning Manjimup Golf Club’s Golfer of the Year award in 2019.

“That was really special to me that I improved so much in one year that I was named golfer of the year,” she said.

Joh was born in Manjimup and after spending time away teaching, returned in 2001.

“It was always my plan to come back to Manjimup,” she said.

“That connection to community is important to me, because this is where I am from.”

Her family is also involved in sport, something that Joh says is important in being a role model for children.

“If you want your kids to be involved in things, then you as an adult need to get out there and be involved as well,” she said.

“It would be great to see more people taking that opportunity to go out there and join in whatever sport you would like at whatever capacity you’ve got.”

Outside of the sports world, Joh is involved in the children’s program at Warren Community Church and likes arts and crafts.

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