by Elyse Wurm
IN JUST one evening Paige Bain put together an application that would win her the chance to meet Olympians and be recognised for her sporting prowess.
The 15-year-old was recently presented with the Pierre de Coubertin award, an accolade presented by the Australian Olympic Committee to secondary school students who are actively involved in sport and uphold values of fair play and sportsmanship.
"I thought I'd have a show and give it my best and I ended up getting the spot. The feeling was amazing," she said.
Schools nominate one student for the award, with Paige earning the spot at Allora State School.
Students must have played at regional level in three different sports for five years consecutively.
For Paige, those sports were swimming, athletics and cross country.
But she is well known in the Southern Downs sporting community for donning the colours of the Warwick Wolves football team.
Paige was selected to play in the National Premier League in 2015 and 2016, but last year decided to forgo the position to continue playing with her brother, Stan, at the Wolves.
Teamwork and quick thinking are what Paige loves most about the sport.
"You've got to have good footwork and be quick on your feet, very switched on and be aware of your surroundings," she said.
Winning the award came at the right time for the Bain family, as they have recently been faced with the loss of Paige's father Stan Sr.
Paige said it was her father, a huge football fan and her former coach, who inspired her to attend her first training sessions.
"He is the person who got me into soccer. He would always encourage me to do my best," she said.
"I'm very proud and I know he would have been proud of me because he did assist me with getting there."
His advice still enters her head when she's on the field.
"I look at a play and think he's taught us this play," she said.
Paige's mother Katrina said she and her daughter were jumping up and down screaming when they received the letter.
"It's the first genuine joyful moment we've had (since Stan's death)," Katrina said. "This happened while everything was happening with dad and she still pulled it together."
Paige said her mother had been a big support, taking her to training and main- taining a bright outlook.
"She's always there when I need her and walks me through everything, she's really positive," Paige said.
The award gave Paige an opportunity to travel to the Gold Coast and meet Olympians, who not only gave insight into their professional lives but also their personal struggles.
Paige said it was interesting to learn most had been a low point before becoming top athletes in their field.
"It's amazing you can be at rock bottom and you can push through and be amazing. It's all commitment" she said.
Hoping to become a physiotherapist when she finishes school, winning the Pierre de Coubertin award has only served to strengthen Paige's resolve to never give up.
"I'd been awarded an important award and that inspired me to always put in the hard work," she said.