FORMER Ballarat university student Phil Bellingham had a tough start to his Sochi Winter Olympics campaign last night.
Bellingham struggled to match the best in the world during qualifying for the cross country skiing men's freestyle sprint, placing 55th of 86 competitors.
He completed the 1800m course in 3:45.65, more than 17 seconds behind the leading qualifier.
The 22-year-old will compete in the classic men's 15km and men's team sprint later in the Games.
Back home, walking star Jared Tallent chases a fourth-straight Ballarat Sportsperson of the Year award tonight.
Hosted by the Ballarat Sportsmen's Club, the award honours the region's standout achiever during 2013.
Tallent has won the past three crowns and four overall.
Tonight's function, which will include a number of other presentations, will be held at the Ballarat Lodge and Convention Centre.
See full story here.
Also tonight, Ballarat Pride launches their Victorian Netball League season.
Federation University Pride's championship, division one and 19/under teams take on Boroondara Genesis at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Parkville.