Ben Cross, Tilley Hunter, Jade Page, Nicholas Gilbert and Jaime Hemmingway awarded AIS grants

A number of local sport stars have been recognised for their achievements through the Australian Institute of Sport’s Local Sporting Champions Program.

Ben Cross, Tilley Hunter, Jade Page, Nicholas Gilbert and Jaime Hemmingway were awarded with a grant to assist them in their elite level sports aspirations. 

Ben competed in the National Road Cycling Championship held at Ballarat last January.

He previously finished fourth in the under 17s National Cycling Championships, finished fifth in the State Championships and 11th in the State Road Race.

Ben recently completed the NRS Tour of the Great South Coast and won Day two of the Cootamundra State open.

He has travelled to South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria to compete in this sport and hopes to race professionally in Europe.

Ben was also recognised as Rotary Wingham’s Young Sportsperson of the Year in the 2018 Australia Day celebrations.

Tilley represented NSW Hockey and was granted $3250 to compete in Perth in October last year.

She captained the under 13 Manning Valley Hockey team and played in State competitions representing the Manning Valley region.

Her goal is to represent Australia in international competitions.

Jade competed in the 13th World Nations Dragon Boat Championship in Canada and was the youngest paddler in the team.

Before she was selected for the competition, Jade attended a selection camp in Canberra and spent the next 10 months preparing for the world championship.

Nicholas competed in various athletics events before finally qualifying last year in the Australian All-Schools Championships and State level.

He took the first and second places in both discus and 110 metre hurdles.

Nicholas is committed to athletics as sport and he has been helping coach the Little Athletics Club in Taree.

Jaime competed in the Australian National Hockey League Championship held in Perth last year.

Prior to the selection, she participated in the NSW Combined High Schools Championship representing the Hunter Region, under 18 National Championship and trialed in the NSW Open Championships.

For Jamie, playing in the league is the pinnacle for women’s hockey at State and Territory levels and hopes to be considered for the national team.

The funding program is designed to provide financial assistance for sportspersons between 12 and 18 years of age to compete at State, National and international events.

The grants can be put towards travel, accommodation, equipment and uniform costs when competing at an official national sporting organisation endorsed State, National or international sporting championship or a school sport Australia State, National or international championship.

Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie congratulated the athletes on receiving a grant.

“I am very pleased to congratulate our young sporting heroes who are excelling in their chosen field and representing our region in State, National and International events,” Dr Gillespie said.

“I hope these championship milestones that they have worked so hard to gain would broaden their experience in sports and that they will continuously aim to strive to grow further and become role models.”

Visit to find out more about the grants.