Following outstanding performances in 2022, Samantha Clifton and Blake Walsh have been selected as recipients of the Commonwealth Games NSW (CGNSW) Athlete Grant Program for 2023.
The CGNSW Athlete Grants Program began in 2016, and this marks its fifth edition, with Tenpin Bowling being included in the initiative for the first time.
To be eligible for the grant, applicants must be a resident of NSW and under 20 years of age. Athletes were nominated by their respective State Sporting Organisation with TBA happily endorsing the applications.
Late last week, two athletes from each of the 20 sports were announced as winners, and Samantha Clifton and Blake Walsh were named as representatives for Tenpin Bowling.
“I feel very grateful for the recognition, knowing all my hard work and dedication to my sport has been worth it. I’m extremely proud to have been selected for this accolade, and for the acknowledgement of my recent performances on the bowling circuit,” commented Blake Walsh, while Samantha Clifton expressed her appreciation for the opportunity “I would like to show my appreciation to those that have taken the time to nominate myself for this fantastic opportunity of recognition in a sport that means a great deal to me”.
Samantha Clifton made a name for herself with some outstanding performances on the ranked event circuit in 2022, winning her first national title by taking out the prestigious Junior Sydney Cup in Lidcombe in April. Throughout the year, she finished in the top 10 for several junior and youth events, culminating in another national title in the youth division, as she was crowned champion of the Grand National Youth Eliminator. She was also named the national junior rankings champion after receiving the most ranking points in the season.
Blake Walsh, meanwhile, enjoyed another stellar year in 2022, receiving rave reviews from fellow bowlers, including Australian open bowler Jarrod Langford, who dubbed him “the best bowler for his age I have ever seen.” Blake has finished with several podiums in nationally-ranked events over the last few years, after winning his first-ranked event at the Queensland Junior Cup in 2021. He was also invited to compete in the inaugural Tenpin Premier League in 2022 and represented Australia in the tour of New Zealand, where he claimed an astonishing 10 medals for the country.
“We were blown away by the outcomes that both Blake and Samantha have achieved in the sport at such a young age,” said CGNSW CEO Peter Tate. “We congratulate both on this recognition and look forward to awarding them their certificate at the upcoming Sydney BowlFest in front of their peers.”
Tenpin Bowling Australia also congratulated both Samantha and Blake on their recognition.
“This is a fantastic outcome for these two promising athletes,” said TBA CEO Rohan O’Neill. “We want to thank CGNSW for including Tenpin Bowling for the first time in the program and recognising these rising stars of our sport”.
A small award presentation will be made at the upcoming Sydney BowlFest, which is scheduled for 19-21 July, where both the Sydney Junior Cup and Sydney Youth Cup will be conducted.
Congratulations to the following 40 athletes from 20 different sports:
|Athlete||Nominating Sport||F / M|
|Delta Amidzovski||Athletics NSW||F|
|Won Bae||Table Tennis NSW||M|
|Ellie Baldwin||Hockey NSW||F|
|Mitchell Blackbourn||Triathlon NSW||M|
|Ella Carlisle||Rugby NSW||F|
|Jie Ying Chan||Badminton NSW||M|
|Samantha Clifton||Tenpin Bowling NSW||F|
|Laura Cruickshank||NSW Weightlifting Assn||F|
|Jaimie De Lutiis||Swimming NSW||F|
|Killian Donovan||Volleyball NSW||M|
|Dylan Downey||Hockey NSW||M|
|Breanna Fisk||Basketball NSW||F|
|Chloe Gao||Diving NSW||F|
|Matauaina Gibbons||Volleyball NSW||F|
|Jack Gibson||Triathlon NSW||M|
|Knox Gibson||Swimming NSW||M|
|Max Hayes-Antcliffe||NSW Wrestling Assn||M|
|Gabriel Jakobsen||Cycling NSW||M|
|Ian Kim||Table Tennis NSW||M|
|Henry Kross||Squash NSW||M|
|Jackson McCabe||Basketball NSW||M|
|Aleira McCowan||Basketball NSW||F|
|Jack McShane||Bowls NSW||M|
|Jamie Mooney||Swimming NSW||M|
|Madison Nargar||Squash NSW||F|
|Logan Owen||Gymnastics NSW||M|
|Madeline Platt||Triathlon NSW||F|
|Alexis Proctor||Boxing NSW||F|
|Benjamin Reid||NSW Weightlifting Assn||M|
|Jett Rocker-Graham||Volleyball NSW||M|
|Kalen Routley||Rowing NSW||M|
|Reef Sattler||Boxing NSW||M|
|Lucy Searle||Rowing NSW||F|
|Lucy Stewart||Gymnastics NSW||F|
|Liliya Tatarinoff||Cycling NSW||F|
|Sydney Tjonadi||Badminton NSW||F|
|Blake Walsh||Tenpin Bowling NSW||M|
|Grace Whyte||Netball NSW||F|
|Daniel Williams||Athletics NSW||M|
|Lily Zhang||Table Tennis NSW||F|