Naomi?s award caps big year
By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au
FORMER Gladstone star Naomi Schouten capped an outstanding 2005 by winning the Sporting Wheelies Most Improved Female Athlete of the Year Award last Saturday night.
The 20-year-old wheelchair basketballer was rewarded for her remarkable rise in the sport this year at a glittering ceremony in Brisbane.
2005 has been a huge year for the local product who starred for Queensland Storm and made her debut for the national team, the Australian Gliders.
Winning the award was a 'big surprise' for Schouten who was up against a very strong field which included her housemate and Australian team-mate Alison Mosley.
'I was really surprised, but very happy to win, it is a massive honour,' Schouten said.
'This year has been a big one for me and to win this award caps it off. 'The trophy is a glass plaque in a suede box, which is taking pride of place at home already.'
Schouten attributed her award to plenty of hard work and added the move to Brisbane earlier this year has paid-off in spades.
'Living in Brisbane has been fantastic in a number of ways for me, I am really enjoying it,' she said.
On top of winning, Schouten said the highlight of her evening was meeting former rugby league star Gorden Tallis who presented a number of awards on the night.
'Meeting Gorden was great, he is a really nice and we had a good chat about a lot of things, I think he is enjoying married life,' she said.
Schouten is winding down at the moment as she looks forward to Christmas with family before gearing up for what is going to be a big year in 2006.
'Next year is massive, the World Championships are the big goal and I am working hard to make sure I am in the team,' she said.