Editorial October 14 2016

What a year it has been for athletes from this region.

Well it just got bigger again.

South Coast surfer Tyler Wright became the queen of world surfing winning the World Surf League championship in France.

It’s Wright’s maiden title but you get the feeling it could be the first of many.

It sparked emotional scenes as Wright had promised a world title to her late uncle who had last watched her surf at the same event a year earlier.

Wright also paid tribute to her fellow professional surfer and brother Owen, who lives at Thirroul.

Wright was wearing the No.3, not her usual 13, in the final event as a tribute to Owen who is recovering from severe head injuries sustained in a fall at Hawaii’s famous Pipeline break last year.

“I'm so incredibly proud of you and grateful that you are my sister. You make a better number 3 then I ever could. Big love T,” Owen said on social media to congratulate his sister.

Many other tributes flowed through social media.

Seven-time world champion Layne Beachley tweeted: “Congratulations @tylerGwright on an outstanding year! You are a WORLD CHAMPION!!! A title you so richly deserve.”

Another fellow world champion Mick Fanning posted: “Congratulations @tylerwrightyou little ripper!! So amazing what you achieved this year and so amazing to watch you do it! To watch you grow this year has been incredible and I wish you all the happiness in the world. Soak it all in and enjoy the moment!!”

It truly has been a hallmark year for sport in the Illawarra.

Take, for example, Emma McKeon's four medals including gold at the Rio Olympic and gold medals as well to rugby sevens players Emma Tonegato and Nicole Beck.

In total we had 16 athletes from the Illawarra in the Australian Olympic team.

Paralympian James Turner won gold and set a new world record in the T36 800 m run.

Cyclist Amanda Reid claimed silver medal in the C1-2-3 500m time trial at the Paralympic Games in Rio.

The Illawarra Hawks had a rebirth and went all the way to the semi finals in the 2015-2016 National Basketball League finals.

Just recently the Illawarra Cutters won the Intrust Super Championship grand final. What a year and congratulations Tyler.

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