KARATE fighter Thilyaana Jones is the 2013 Ballarat Sportsgirl of the Year.
She is the second Ballarat branch member of the Australian Kyokushin Karate Association to receive a major award from the Ballarat Sportsmen’s Association of Australia Associates in as many years.
Shannyn Johnstone-Ward was the 2012 Ballarat Sportswoman of the Year and was a finalist for the award again last night.
Jones took out three major titles in Australia and overseas last year.
She claimed the Victorian 12-13 year non-contact championship and Australian national crown in the colts (16-18 years) full-contact division – fighting well above her age.
She defeated the reigning champion to take the national title.
Jones capped off a stellar 12 months by taking out the Chinese national 13-14 year contact championship in her third overseas tournament.
She had previously twice fought in New Zealand.
Despite being just 14 years old, Jones is already an eight-year “veteran” of the sport, having taken it up as a six-year-old.
Jones said she followed her younger brother Braydan into Kyokushin karate.
A Year 9 student at the Phoenix P-12 Community College, she said the past year had been her most successful yet and was hopeful of building on it – particularly in the full-contact division.