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Sprinter humbled by gift of event patron

Leonora’s golden girl will return this year as patron for the Golden Gift.

Goldfields athlete Kiara Reddingius has made an impression on the national and international stage across the years, but still has a soft spot for the outback town she calls home.

Named patron of the Leonora Golden Gift last year, the Melbourne-based sprinter will fly back for this year’s event, which she has attended year in, year out.

“As I get older I feel more connected to Leonora — and now there’s a much stronger pull to come back,” she said. “I’m really humbled by it.” Taking the title in the sprint for the past six years, event manager Ross Johnson said Reddingius was a great role model for the local children to see what they could achieve, and it was important to get them involved.

“There’s some phenomenal talent in the area,” he said.

“Part of our budget is a youth athletics program running at the local school in the eight weeks leading up to the Gift to get the kids interested and give them the opportunity to compete.”

Reddingius — who works as a school teacher — said her father Rene was running the lessons, and if she arrived early, she would take the last few.

“Our main aim is to get them all participating and finishing,” she said.

“Anything using life skills, discipline, and health and fitness is good for them.”

The Shire of Leonora will enter local students for free, and Reddingius said the events across the weekend – whether it be athletics, entertainment or otherwise – provided local kids a look into what opportunities were out there.

Off the back of a foot injury last month, Reddingius was hoping to recover in time to compete, but said either way, she was looking forward it.

“I’m really excited for it, and to spend time with the community and my family,” she said.

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