Shannyn Johnstone-Ward says being named the Ballarat Sportswoman of the Year is an accolade for Kyoshin karate.
“As well as a personal honour, it’s great recognition for the sport,” she said.
Ballarat’s Sportsmen’s Association of Australia Associates last night presented Johnstone-Ward with the biggest individual honour for a Ballarat sportswoman – recognising her achievements in 2012.
The 21-year-old has had another outstanding year.
She won the Australian and New Zealand national titles, finished second in the Japan World Tournament and South African nationals.
Johnstone-Ward was one of three finalists for the award, with Olympic beach volleyballer Tamsin Hinchley and Olympic javelin thrower Kathryn Mitchell also contenders.
Hinchley and Mitchell are each recovering from ankle surgery and could not attend the function at the Ballarat Lodge.
Johnstone-Ward is a member of the Ballarat Branch of the Australian Kyokushin Karate Association – one of the biggest dojos in Australia.
Kyokushin karate has a presence in about 90 countries.
Johnstone-Ward said the Ballarat dojo was more like a family than a sporting club.
“It’s a lifestyle rather than a sport.”
Her major aim this year is to make the Australian team to compete in China — a country she is yet to visit.
She is about to start serious training in readiness for an attempt at a fifth NZ national title and later in the year another Australian nationals campaign in Sydney.
This will all be part of the preparation for next year’s world titles in South Africa. Johnstone-Ward hopes to ultimately make a career in Kyokushin karate as a coach.
As well as working two jobs to help fund her sporting exploits, she is studying to be a personal trainer to help her pursue this objective.
“This sport has already given me so much. I just want to give as much back as a possible,” she said.
The Age sports journalist Sam Lane was guest speaker at last night’s dinner.
More on the awards page 38