Du Preez delights judges to claim gong

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times

Talented Busselton hockey star Ella Du Preez has been recognised for her tremendous achievements in 2019.

Du Preez was named the team female athlete of the year at the South West Academy of Sport’s awards night at Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre last Friday.

It has been a remarkable transformation for the teenager this year under new SWAS hockey coach Nicole Arrold.

The humble and polite young star said Arrold had been the perfect role model, teaching the importance of leadership on and off the field.

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“She has already improved my game so much and she teaches life skills; what it means to be an elite athlete,” she said.

The 15-year-old midfielder has played for WA in the under-15s and under-18s indoor hockey team and was vice-captain of the WA under-16s outdoor hockey team.

Du Preez won a hard-fought grand final for Boyanup Hockey Club in the Bunbury District Hockey Association after trailing 3-1 in the decider.

Her team scored a golden goal in extra time to secure a 3-4 victory.

She said she played “solid but it was a team effort”.

Du Preez also credited her support network for her success.

“This award is a reflection of the dedication from my family, coaches and teammates, not just me,” she said.

“I’ve still got to knuckle down and improve my fitness and strength before I can assess my opportunities for next year.”

Yallingup surfer Emma Cattlin secured individual female athlete at the gala ceremony and both young women are hoping to make it to the world stage.

SWAS chief executive Bernice Butlion, who was honoured on the night for her outstanding service, congratulated all award winners.

“The award winners have made us proud and we wish them well as they continue to pursue sporting careers,” she said.

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