Mathoura teen and Moama club named in Australia Day awards

By Ivy Jensen

A MATHOURA teen with a bright future and a Moama club will be honoured at Murray River Council’s Australia Day ceremony.

Jemika Cooper will accept her second Young Sportsperson of the Year award from council, after winning the title in 2017 also.

It’s a hat-trick for the Cooper family, with Jemika’s older brother Alvin named Murray River’s Young Sportsperson of the Year last year.

Jemika was one of six Australia Day Award winners for Murray River announced by the council on Tuesday.

Moama Lions Club took out the Community Group of the Year award.

Thirteen-year-old Jemika said it was ‘‘exciting’’ to learn she would collect her second Sportsperson of the Year award, especially considering she will not have to share it.

In 2017, Jemika was one of four winners, with Dylan-Jack Weaver, Lachlan Arkinstall and Ebony Pollock sharing the honour with her.

‘‘I was smiling a lot (when I learned of this year’s award) because I was happy and not expecting it,’’ she said.

‘‘I am not sure why I was chosen to receive the award again, but I am good at sports and it is nice to be recognised.

‘‘I am proud. This award has shown my brother’s talents and my own.’’

Jemika has accumulated an impressive list of sporting achievements in a school environment and in local sporting groups.

She has been successful at many of Mathoura Public School’s carnivals and trials, leading her to compete in multiple district, regional and state competitions.

Jemika has also represented the school in a variety of different trials this year, including basketball, soccer and AFL, and was selected as captain of the Riverina Girls AFL side in 2019.

Her efforts at the footy carnival earned her a best-on-ground.

Jemika is also a highly valued member of Deniliquin Rovers Football Club’s under-14 side, as one of just two females in the side, and continues to excel with Deniliquin Athletics Club.

However she is not only a talented sportsperson but also displays outstanding sportsmanship and humility off the field.

At school, she is always seen encouraging her peers and congratulating other competitors.

‘‘It is important to be friendly, a team player and giving it your all . . . that is what makes a good sportsperson,’’ Jemika said.

Moama Lions Club is a small club with 16 members who have, through sheer hard work and persistence, provided the community with a number of assets and projects through their ongoing fundraising efforts.

One of their most notable projects includes the Moama Lions Community Village. Originally established in 1977, more than three decades later the club has provided and managed 28 accommodation units.

Other projects include the Southern Cross Care Moama Vegetable Garden Project.

The club also supports Echuca Regional Health’s Cancer Wellness Centre, hosts the annual Carols by Candlelight event and provides development opportunities for local youth through the Youth of the Year and Junior Public Speaking competitions.

The 2020 recipients will be presented with their awards at Murray River Council's Australia Day ceremonies on January 26, with breakfasts to be held in Echuca-Moama, Barham, Mathoura, Wakool, Koraleigh, Tooleybuc and Moulamein.

Details of each event is available at