David picks up 'keys'

WARILLA’S Olympic gold medallist David Smith capped off a whirlwind couple of weeks when he was presented with the Key to the City on Sunday. 

Taking time out from a busy schedule of parades, functions and other official duties, the 25-year-old was recognised at the council ceremony honouring Shellharbour City’s Olympians.

Also recognised were two Australian hockey team representatives, bronze medallist and Albion Park junior Kieran Govers  and Albion Park’s Casey Eastham,  alongside swimmer Jarrod Poort  and Albion Park hockey umpire David Gentles. 

Eastham was unable to attend and a presentation will be held for her at a later date.

Govers, 24, who was in Perth preparing to head to Germany for club competition, was represented by family members at the ceremony outside Lamerton House. 

The key was presented to Smith in recognition of his achievement in the Men’s Kayak Four (K4) 1000m in London. His parents Martin and Mandy are long-time council employees.

The gold medallist’s home break is Warilla-Barrack Point Surf Life Saving Club. He graduated from the Nippers through the ranks to represent NSW in surf lifesaving before relocating to the Gold Coast to pursue his Olympic dreams.

Smith was ‘‘overwhelmed’’ by the honour.

‘‘It’s makes me feel like I’m king of the castle,’’ he laughed. 

‘‘I’m extremely proud to represent the area and be from Warilla.

‘‘A lot of people here have supported me my whole career.

‘‘All these people in Warilla deserve this gold medal just as much as I do.’’

Smith flew to Portugal on Monday for a celebration with the team’s boat manufacturer.

Afterwards, he planned to spend time at home, while also doing training and visiting girlfriend/sailing silver medallist Nina Curtis  in Sydney.

He is considering competing in the surf lifesaving world titles at Adelaide in November. 

He is also intending to return for a third Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Govers’ mother Jenny, who lives in Albion Park, attended the Games and accepted the honour on his behalf. ‘‘He’s rapt to have a bronze,’’ she said.

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