Jacqui's message: Dream big and have a go!
AFTER being crowned NSW Young Australian of the Year 2014 on Monday night, Skennars Head swimmer Jacqueline Freney said all she wants to do is inspire and help other young people achieve their dreams.
After receiving the title at a special awards ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, the 21-year-old Paralympic champion said she was over the moon at the honour.
"It means so much to me to know that I have all of Australia's support behind me," she said
"It's a real privilege to be a part of this experience and accolade."
It's been pretty full-on for Jacqui since returning from the 2012 Paralympic Games where she won eight gold medals: She's since been awarded the title of Paralympian of the Year in 2012, won three awards at the NSW Institute of Sport's annual awards night, and most recently was named Sportswoman of the Year at Cosmopolitan's Fun Fearless Female Awards just last week.
This new accolade, Jacqui said, comes as a joyful honour to her.
"I've always wanted to be a role model to the younger generations," Jacqui said.
"My main message is that no matter what obstacles or challenges come your way, you can always overcome them."
Following her win on Monday night, Jacqui posted this message on her Twitter account:
"Hoping to inspire our youth to face their fears, believe in their abilities and live their dreams."
Along with the other NSW award recipients, Jacqui will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on January 25, 2014 in Canberra.
Jacqui said she was looking forward to the whole experience and the opportunity to draw inspiration from the other award recipients from across the nation.
National Australia Day Council chief executive, Jeremy Lasek, said the NSW award recipients were an inspiration.
"All four of the award recipients are great Australians."