Kwinana Year 11 student Kaia Clarkin is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of playing in the Olympics after being selected to join the Australian Volleyball Academy in Canberra next year.
Kaia first picked up a volleyball in Year 8 at Gilmore College and has never looked back. He joined his local club team, Rossmoyne Volleyball Club, and got selected for multiple State teams.
Kaia, who is 204cm tall, first heard about the AVA at Volleyball Australia’s 2019 Thailand Junior camp. The academy identifies and develops potential Olympians in volleyball and beach volleyball.
“I am very grateful that I have been given the opportunity to further develop my skills in volleyball with other dedicated athletes and coaches,” Kaia said. “I am keen to join the AVA in 2021 to become a better player and hopefully be able to play professionally.”
His favourite volleyball memory to date was when his school took out the gold medal in its first tournament in his first year of playing. He was MVP of that tournament.
AVA men’s head coach Brendan Garlick said the story behind Kaia’s rise to becoming an AVA athlete is one that “would bring a smile to everyone’s face”.
“From humble volleyball beginnings at Gilmore College, Kaia is a great example of dedication, perseverance, and hard work. These traits are why Kaia has a bright future ahead of him”.
Gilmore College Volleyball Co-ordinator Craig Davies said he knew Kaia had “huge potential” from the moment he joined the Year 8 team. “Over the years he worked hard on his other skills and improved his entire game significantly,” Mr Davies said. “We are in no way surprised that Volleyball Australia have seen the same potential in him that we do, not only as a volleyball player, but as an outstanding young man. He will be sorely missed at Gilmore College, and we wish him all the best.”
Kaia will continue his schooling in Canberra and start training at the Australian Institute of Sport next month.