Wes a worthy finalist

By Jarryd Barca

Corowa Rowing Captain Wes Canny has been listed as a finalist in the 2018 Victorian Sporting Awards, which will be held at Marvel Stadium on February 20.

Wes was nominated for the Gallagher Victorian Community Coach of the Year award on the back of his outstanding contribution and tireless efforts, teaching local rowers young and old the craft of rowing on the Murray River. 

The 50-year-old devotes a large portion of his life to the 156-year-old rowing club, involved in all aspects from water activities to the day-to-day running of the club. 

“Wes starts his day at 4am every Wednesday just so he can finish work early and take a group of high school students rowing in the afternoon,” Corowa Rowing Club President Robert O’Halloran told The Free Press.

“His dedication – I’ve never seen anything like it, not only in our sport but with anything he does, he’s a great person with incredible devotion.”   

Wes said he was proud to be nominated as a finalist through his efforts of coaching.

“I was definitely surprised, there’s no doubt about that,” he told The Free Press.

“I’m really wrapped that I did get nominated and wrapped to be able to go to the awards night in Melbourne.

“I’m just glad to be able to go there, represent my club and represent my sport. Whatever happens now is just a bonus. 

“The rowing club has been a major part of my life, I’ve been here as a coach for 23 years in Corowa and I’ve met some great people along the way. 

“Rowing is different to a lot of sports; it’s a lot of volunteers and coaches and it’s really good working with different people.” 

Wes spends six of his seven days of the week at the rowing club, has always been committed to set up appropriate training programs for rowers of all abilities and regularly undertakes professional development training as he understands the value this has on athletes. 

“I love the challenge. Every kid and every rower is different,” he said.

“There’s so much joy and it’s fantastic as a coach to see them reach their goals. I’m a volunteer, I don’t get paid but it’s a job you do because you want to do it.” 

On top of taking 14 high school students under his wing, Wes coaches roughly 15 other rowers during the week, ranging from ages nine to 50. 

The Victorian Sport Awards is the night of nights for the Victorian sporting community celebrating participants, coaches, organisers and the volunteers behind the scenes from all levels of sport in Victoria.

Vicsport Chairman Ron Gauci said the awards night is a highlight on the Victorian sporting calendar.

“Once again, the calibre of candidates and subsequently the finalists chosen are an indication of the health of our industry in Victoria and makes the process of judging winners more challenging and interesting,” he said.

“We look forward to rewarding the success of our finalists.”

Mr O’Halloran said the Corowa Rowing Club would not be where it is if it wasn’t for Wes and his contribution.

“He gives it his all, everything he’s got,” he said.

“He’s always 100 per cent dedicated and his knowledge of the sport is unrivaled.” 

Last year’s awards attracted 500 attendees including many of Victoria’s premier athletes and grassroots heroes.

Wes is up against Melburnians Taylah Palmer (gymnastics), Amy Johnson (triathlon) and Vicky Lee (tennis) for the coveted community coach award.