Jessica Fox champ of champs

GONE were their competition frocks, training schedules and starting lines.

Instead, Penrith's finest sporting talent dressed in suits and style, enjoyed a program of dining and acceptance speeches and graced centre stage as the Penrith Valley Sports Foundation hosted its 2011-12 awards night at the Panthers Leagues Club last Thursday.

After an awe-inspiring video montage of the 11 nominees for the Senior Sportstar of the Year award, the night's final accolade was awarded to canoe/kayak slalom sensation Jessica Fox.

The 18-year-old Leonay resident was a double junior world champion and Youth Olympic champion in 2010 but it was her phenomenal success over the past 12 months that ensured her name was written inside the winner's envelope.

In 2011, Fox won two World Cup events before representing Australia at the London Olympics, where she won a silver medal in the K1 just weeks after successfully defending her junior world titles in the United States.

Meanwhile, she finished her HSC with an ATAR OF 99.1

last year and was placed first in NSW in personal development, health and physical education (PDHPE).

"I'm very, very honoured," Fox said upon collecting the award.

"It's been a massive year for me and a really exciting journey."

Nepean District Tennis Association member Jay Andrijic was crowned Junior Sportstar of the Year after becoming the youngest ever winner in an International Tennis Federation event last year as well as winning the Junior Open in New Caledonia, the Air Pacific Open in Fiji and the Queensland Junior International.

He was also ranked number one in his age group in 2011 and, for the same age group, fifth in the world.

Collecting the Rising Star award was Jake Stein, who competed with his first national team at the World Youth Athletics Championships in France last year, where he won gold in the Octathlon.

In July, he won a silver medal at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona.

The master of ceremonies at the foundation's 11th annual presentation night was Stephanie Brantz; Western Sydney Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman and head coach Tony Popovic were guest speakers and Kingswood's Basil Dickinson, who competed at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and is Australia's oldest living Olympian, was a special attendee.

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