Olympic hope one step closer to reality for Fuller after hard work recognised

Fuller's hard work rewarded as effort puts her on Olympic track

Dubbo's junior sportsperson of the year has another achievement to their name, with Haylee Fuller being selected as one of ten young, developing athletes to receive a NSW Olympic Council Athlete Grant.

The grant, which awards $1,500 to the recipients, is aimed towards providing financial support and relief for 'up and coming' athletes.

In a letter to Cycling NSW, the NSWOC Vice-President Geoffrey Davidson wrote, "Haylee should be very proud of her outstanding achievements, the NSWOC received many strong applications making it an extremely difficult decision process for the selection panel."

Fuller, who earlier this year claimed titles in the under-19 and national criterium categories as well as the under-17 NSW Road Championships, is one the sport's fastest developing stars and was awarded the Dubbo Junior Sportsperson of the Year award in honour of her efforts.

Fuller, who's still juggling responsibilities at school with managing her own solo training schedule due to the lockdown, called the opportunities offered by the grant 'pretty exciting'.

"It's something we can use in the future, we'll use it for travel costs and to cover race entry, we might even be buying some new gear, some of it will go to that," Fuller said.

Dubbo Cycle Club President Matt Gilbert said cycling could be an expensive sport, and Fuller deserved every bit of recognition she'd earned.

"She's a very unique athlete, she has an incredible work ethic, a very rare level of dedication and she's very graceful and accommodating, she's always one of the first to welcome new riders, she's a very special athlete," Gilbert said.

"Really, she's what a sportsman should be and it shows in the fact that she's a likely Olympic podium hopeful and someone who I consider to be pound for pound, one of the best junior level athletes."

Gilbert said that Fuller had shown her commitment and dedication during her recent spree of high profile wins and that it was easy for the club to get caught up in the excitement of Fuller's performances.

"She'll really go to any limits to bring home a victory to Dubbo, she's someone we're all very proud of and Dubbo as a whole should be proud of her and what she's been able to accomplish," Gilbert said.

While Fuller may be in a class all of her own on the track, off of it, she's faced many of the same challenges that other athletes have while training during lockdown.

"It's been hard to train and everything, having to do it solo, but we're still kicking goals online, we still have online races and stuff like that to keep us going," Fuller said.

That camaraderie and competitive spirit is one of the chief things Fuller recognises as the reason for much of her and the club's success.

"I think the club's culture and spirit just boosts everyone up and makes everyone better, I have so many role models in the club, training with them I think helps me to perform better," Fuller said.

"I think it also comes down to the coaches, we have two really quality coaches in Dubbo that provide us all with a really great shot at achieving our goals."

While an Olympics berth and representing her country may be in her future, Fuller is still focusing on the next goals she has in mind for now, namely the world track and Oceania titles.

This story Fuller's hard work rewarded as effort puts her on Olympic track first appeared on Daily Liberal.