Sports community must stand tall for its future

Today marks the end of my time with the Fraser Coast Chronicle and the beginning of another adventure, which will take the man who has, allegedly, the whitest legs in Queensland, and is known to struggle on days that top 32 degrees (and still wears long pants on the beach...), to tropical Far North Queensland, where I will live and work in Cairns.

I have enjoyed many opportunities in my time here, including my role in the inaugural Fraser Coast Sports Awards, but the most important and rewarding was the opportunity to share your stories.

The Fraser Coast has played an enormous role in my life and my career since I joined the team in May, 2015, and I will cherish the friendships I've made in the years since.

The Fraser Coast has so much potential to fix the region's reputation as a black hole of representative sport and become a powerhouse.

The region is already home to some of the state's absolute best athletes.

In the past week, the Fraser Coast Chronicle has recognised the biggest individual achievements produced by athletes who earned their start, developed and became state and national champions within our borders, and highlighted just 18 of our biggest sports stories from 2018.

Today, we highlight 18 Stars of Tomorrow, a small snapshot of some of the best junior athletes who are ready to become breakout stars, some who have already made a name for themselves at a local, state or national level, and all who have the potential to become household names in their chosen sport if they stick at it.

The reason is to not only give these athletes credit where it is well deserved and due, but to also show the type of young athletes we have on the Coast to those who may not have an interest in sport at all.

The 18 athletes listed here, the other 17 names who didn't make this list due to space constraints and the countless more juniors who have great ability, need access to better facilities, coaches and opportunities so they can achieve their dreams.

Many complain when young athletes leave the region to succeed but a loud minority slow or stop progress on projects that can provide juniors the facilities they need. The sports community has to work together to turn the Coast into the powerhouse it can be.