Decathlete Thomas Noakes stared back at a raft of major obstacles in the past two years, and we’re not just talking about the pandemic.
South West Sydney Academy of Sport (SWSAS) has crowned the young Douglas Park resident athlete of the year in recognition of his determination to succeed against the odds.
On the way, Noakes had to prepare for the HSC, as well as overcome injuries and constant interruptions to his training schedule.
The end result was limited preparation in appropriate venues for the entire period.
It meant Noakes was forced to compete at the 2021 NSW Combined Events championships with a stress fracture in his back.
But despite the pain and later scans diagnosing the issue, he won his events.
Following a full suite of rehabilitation, Noakes returned to take part in the final competition events prior to the July lockdown, winning all but one.
He also took home the gold in the NSW Combined Event Championships U20 Boys Decathlon, in February.
Noakes topped off a momentous year when he won another gold medal, this time in the 19 year old boys pole vault event in the NSW All Schools competition last weekend, clearing a handy 3.80m.
Some astute judges have Noakes as a definite 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games hope.
In the meantime, he can bask in the glory of being 2021 Campbelltown Catholic Club Athlete of the Year and South32 Academy Chairpersons Award winner.