Sailing star Laura Thomson wins 2019 Young Achiever of the Year

She’s had her fair share of ups and downs, but Friday night was all smooth sailing for Albury’s Laura Thomson.

The talented 19-year-old sailor won the 2019 Norske Skog Young Achiever of the Year award at Albury’s Commercial Club on Friday night from a quality field of nine nominees.

A whirlwind 2018 saw Thomson out of the boat for four months after requiring surgery on her troublesome right knee, which has ruled her out of events in the past.

The Victorian Institute of Sport scholarship holder made her way from the setback, combining with new partner Laura Harding to finish second out of all women’s teams at the national championships in Tasmania at the end of the season.

Thomson was honoured to be named this year’s Young Achiever.

“I’m excited, overwhelmed and very humbled,” she said.

“I was listening to all the other athletes’ stories and I was so inspired, I couldn’t believe when they said I was the winner.

“This means everything, you can go out and win a million gold medals, but at the end of the day, where you come from is what really matters.

“Being honoured with an award like this means everything.

“Going from having that knee operation last year and those really trying times sitting on the couch with a leg brace on while everyone else is in Europe.

“You’re sitting there quite jealous and motivated.

“I was able to really channel that motivation into the domestic season and I think that got us the result we needed and is going to keep pushing us forward.”

Thomson was very thankful for the support from her family and support network who gave up so much of their time to ensure she could compete at the highest level.

She’s since relocated to Melbourne to chase her dreams of one day representing Australia at an Olympic Games.

“Being able to achieve those things all comes back to the grassroots and the commitment to training,” Thomson added.

She has ambitions to compete overseas later this year, setting her sights on the under-23 world championships in Norway, before a tilt at the world championships in New Zealand.

“I’ve got my sights set on the European trip in the middle of the year, but I’m massively focusing on that trip to New Zealand for the world championships at the end of the year,” Thomson said.

Border para-triathlete Justin Godfrey was the guest speaker on the night, while previous Young Achievers Jordan Boys and Ben Zwar also reflected on their journeys.

Thomson joins the likes of Lauren Jackson, Emma George, Britteny Cox, Jesse Featonby and James Willett on the decorated list of winners.

Source: The Border Mail, 16th March 2019