Daniel Villani travels the hour from New Lambton to Kangy Angy a few times a week to train under former national coach and one-time German Olympic wrestler Peter Acciari.
The 15-year-old hasn’t looked back since making the move, which has eventually led to selection for the Australian judo team at this week’s Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas.
“Everything,” Villani said about what Acciari has taught him in their two years together. “I don’t think I really knew what was out there until I came to him. He’s showed me a lot of new stuff and opened up a lot of pathways for me.”
The year 10 student at St Philip’s Christian College in Waratah hits the mat on Tuesday in the boy’s under-60 kilogram division.
A spot on the podium is the “goal” and an Olympic appearance is the “dream”.
* HUNTER rugby league trio Luke Huth, Kyle Schneider and Jesse Cronin will play a two-Test series away against New Zealand under 18s in September after being named in the Australian Schoolboys squad.
The tour stars in Rotorua on September 26 and finishes in Auckland four days later. The prestigious team was announced in Wollongong on Friday following the national championships.
Newcastle Knights junior Huth along with Parramatta Eels pair Schneider and Cronin helped NSW Combined High Schools to claim the title with a 41-10 final win over NSW Combined Catholic Colleges.
Hunter Sports High School student Huth, who recently made his first grade debut for Lakes at hooker, was picked on the bench.
Schneider, who shifted from the Gateshead venue to The Hills Sports High School in Sydney in 2015, nabbed the No.9 jersey just a few weeks after representing NSW under 18s in a State of Origin curtain-raiser.
Rutherford-based prop Cronin, a Beresfield Bears junior who has moved to Hills from All Saints College in Maitland, collected a spot in the reserves.
* ELEEBANA’S Kaitlyn Klein won gold at the International Children’s Games in Lithuania earlier this month when she took out the girl’s 800 metres with a time of two minutes and 14.08 seconds.
* STATE success was experienced by teams in three different disciplines on the weekend – Newcastle’s under-13 boy’s hockey, Hunter’s under-10 boy’s rugby union, Macquarie Hunter’s road relay athletics.