Olympic heroes inspire

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Hayley Kilrain last week met with about half dozen Olympians to talk about their influences and cherished moments in sport.
Camera IconHayley Kilrain last week met with about half dozen Olympians to talk about their influences and cherished moments in sport. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times/Tari Jeffers

A chance to learn about the health and social benefits of sport and to rub shoulders with Olympians is not something Manjimup teen Hayley Kilrain will ever forget.

Hayley, 17, has this year been a huge advocate of mental health and is also a role model in the local netball and basketball associations for her ability and team work.

On Thursday, Hayley had the chance to participate in the Australian Olympic Change-Maker Program and was one of about 60 students in the State to be selected.

The Australian Olympic Change-Maker Program recognises and rewards students who are demonstrating the Olympic spirit through leadership and driving positive change in their communities.

Kearnan College, Hayley’s school, nominated her for the program.

“It was a forum with Olympians, so I got to meet four or five Olympians,” she said.

“They told us their stories and told us about their life and how they have changed and how sports have changed them.

“We got to learn about their families and influences they’ve had.”

In addition to also providing feedback on how the program could positively impact sport in communities, Hayley and the other students also got to play basketball with the Olympians.

Perth Olympic kayaker Jesse Phillips ran the event.

“He even recognised Manjimup as the place with the truffles,” Hayley said.

“We got to do basketball drills with Andrew Vlahov.”

Olympic gymnast and Australian Ninja Warrior Olivia Vivian was the guest speaker and other guests included Olympic hockey player Brooke Peris and Olympic swimmer Grant Irvine.

Going into the event, Hayley said she had no idea what to expect and was initially scared at the thought of playing basketball with Olympians.

“Learning all the stuff, it was so good, as I realised how I could make a change in the community and how sport here can actually help people,” she said.

“One of the things we looked at was how sport could create a safe place where people can come and not be judged.

“You can just be yourself in the sport you love.”

Hayley said she had combined what she learnt with her push for more mental health awareness through Kearnan College.

She said it was important to realise that sport allowed people to be free to be who they were.

In her last week of Year 12, Hayley is looking to her future and will use her gap year to earn some money, coach Net-Set-Go and hopefully organise an event for mental health awareness.

“I do have very big ideas on what I want to do,” she said.

In the near future, Hayley will be waiting to hear back from the Australian Olympic Change-Maker Program to see if she was successful in being selected for the national summit.

For her submission, Hayley had to make a one-minute video about the change, innovation and demonstrate leadership in sport in her community.

If successful, Hayley will be one of two students in the State to represent WA at the national summit in December.

Hayley encouraged everyone to give a sport a go.

“What you put in, you get back,” she said.

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