Thilyaana Jones takes out Sportsgirl of the Year award

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.