Helping hand for young athlete


By Jackson Russell

Wallan athlete Kirra Wright has received a boost to her chances of repeating her gold medal efforts at the School Sport Australia Track and Field Championship, with a sponsorship from NAB Plenty Valley helping her get to Darwin.

The $1500 sponsorship will go a long way to helping Kirra repeat her efforts from last year, breaking the 100-metre record for the T38 class.

Kirra’s mother Kylie Portelli said the support from the bank would help Kirra achieve her goals.

“We kept getting knocked back from grants for her age, the governments couldn’t help us because she’s only 11 and not 12, so when the bank said they could help, I was just blown away,” she said.

“It’s just huge. We haven’t had anything near that sum of money before so it’s just helped us get to Darwin and pay for Kirra’s flights.”

Kirra Wright, centre, with NAB branch manager Rhonda Wight and banker Tina Lambert-Williams. ​

The support from the community has also been welcomed with Kirra’s GoFundMe page raising more than $2500.

“We received a $1000 donation from the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association, then Kirra got sponsored by Barry Plant Wallan for $500 as well as 3KND radio. There are a lot of businesses in Wallan that have helped out as well,” Ms Portelli said.

“Hotondo Homes has helped, Totally Fit Gym, OzFit in Kilmore donated $200 so it’s all the little things that have added up to help us get to Darwin in two weeks.”

Ms Portelli said without the community’s support, Kirra wouldn’t have been able to get to Darwin.

“It costs just over $4000 to get to Darwin just for Kirra with flights, accommodation, insurance and things like that. This is just huge,” she said.

“It’s helped heaps and I’ll be able to go to Darwin and cheer her on as well.”

Kirra returned from the School Sports Australia Cross Country Championship in Wollongong, NSW with another gold medal, this time in the one-kilometre multiclass time trial with a personal best time of 4:43.

She also won bronze in the two-kilometre race with a time of 10:21.

Kirra’s hoping to win more gold in Darwin and has her eyes on the 800 metres in particular, as well as competing in the 100 metres, 200 metres, 4×100-metre relay, medley relay and long jump.

NAB Plenty Valley banker Tina Lambert-Williams said she knew the bank could help after one conversation with Ms Portelli.

“Kylie came into see me at the bank and spoke very passionately about her daughter’s drive and what she’s achieved so far and I just knew we could help,” she said.

“It’s just an amazing feeling knowing we can assist. Great things are going to happen for this young lady, I can just feel it in my bones.

“She’s going to be a great success and we want to be a part of that journey.”