Gympie's top five sportspeople of 2017
The Olympic dream of Tokyo 2020 is well and truly alive for Gympie man Steven Elliott.
Touted as one of the best para-athletes in the country, Elliott helped guide the Australian under-23 wheelchair basketball team to a bronze medal at the world championships in Toronto, Canada, earlier in the year.
He has also captained the the Queensland Rolling Thunder on numerous occasions.
A natural athlete all his life, with an aptitude for rugby and running, Steven didn't let the diagnosis of a debilitating neurological condition at 13 stop him from following his passion.
"I'd never been into basketball before,” he told The Gympie Times in 2016, "But less than a year after I moved to the chair I really took to it.”
The imposing Elliott treats the sport with a level of professionalism which is unrivalled and has received high praise and accolades for his tremendous enthusiasm and determination.
Fa'asuamaleaui is still at the tender age of 17 but he is playing with the big boys now, the talented rugby league player having signed a contract earlier in the year with the NRL side elbourne Storm.
Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Craig Ingebrigtsen believes Fa'asuamaleaui has a "big future” in the game after the Gympie product linked with the Storm.
The NRL team posted a video of Tino earlier this month, profiling the former Gympie Devils player as he trains under the watchful gaze of head coach Craig Bellamy.
"I'm loving it, it's been tough but I'm learning something new every week, every day and just getting amongst the boys, and I'm loving it here, it's been great,” Tino told Storm TV.
A former Gympie Devils, ex-Brisbane Broncos junior and Queensland under-18 representative, the teenager is gathering up a head of steam to launch an attack on the big league.
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In November, Groves took out out his first international stage win in the third stage at the Tour of Fuzhou in China.
It was the 18-year-old's first victory in a professional Union Cycliste Internationale event.
Groves was introduced to cycling after a motorcycle crash just over two years ago.
He won last year's under-19 road race National Championship at Canberra and after finishing Year 12 at Gympie moved to Maroochydore with a pure cycling focus.
In his home town in September, Groves claimed victory in all three stages of the Queensland Road Teams Series. He also won the elite Queensland individual time trial just weeks before at North Stradbroke Island.
Groves' parents are supporting him as he takes a serious tilt at the sport, which he attributes to his most recent success.
"There's no secret really. Just big weeks on the bike,” he told The Sunshine Coast Daily.
"I do around 16-20-hour weeks, which is between 500-700km. It's been a big jump but it's really good. It helps being full-time, you have time to recover.”
Groves races for St George Continental under Brett Dutton, an Olympic medallist and well known personality in international cycling circles.
The 56-year-old Widgee-based Holmes recently did the seemingly unthinkable by winning a host of state and national riding titles straight off the back of a serious injury.
Holmes, who has represented Australia at the World Equestrian Games, had her foot shattered when a horse kicked her last year.
The injury required the surgical insertion of a metal plate and seven screws.
She climbed back on after just several months and picked up the Queensland State Distance Rider and Points Rider awards, the State Distance Horse and Points Horse, won the Collier Cup, equal first place as National Distance Rider, second in National Points, second in Horse Points and third in Distance.
Arguably one of Gympie's toughest women, she rode in one event with a broken hand.
The Gympie Times spoke with Holmes, who was humble about her achievement.
"To do that after my accident was a huge comeback,” she said.
"I am quite pleased with myself.”
Gympie's golden boy of swimming, Troy Carlson, returned home laden with five gold and two silver medals from the Pacific School Games in Adelaide earlier in the month.
While the talented James Nash High student is only 15, he stands at 190cm and because of that we have bumped him up a grade into the senior rankings based on his height alone.
He returned to Gympie with five gold and two silver medals, as well as two Pacific School Games records to his name.
He claimed gold in the 50m freestyle (24.06s), 100m butterfly (57.12s), 4x50m freestyle relay, 4x100m freestyle relay, and 10x50m freestyle mixed relay.
His silver hauls included 100m freestyle (53.74s) and the 8x50m freestyle all age relay.
The affable Carlson, who rates butterfly as his best discipline, said he was a little intimidated by the calibre of the competition but let his swimming do the talking.
"You should have seen some of the other guys there,” he told The Gympie Times earlier in the month.
"There was one guy who was six-foot-eight tall and 98kg and he was only 15.
"I beat him in the 50m freestyle though.
"I'd like to make the Olympics, that's the top one, so I want to work towards that.”
The performances put the laid-back, third generation Mooloo resident within reach of qualifying for national swimming squads in the next few years.