To Mexico and back: Coffs Olympic ref recognised for work

TWO Coffs Coast legends in basketball and karting have been recognised for their tireless efforts to advancing their respective sports.

Lesley Gough and Russell Grimson this week received Distinguished Long Service Awards at the 2020 NSW Community Sports Awards, recognising their outstanding achievements and contributions to community sport in NSW.

Gough, for his work in the basketballing community and Grimson for his efforts in karting.

Gough started playing basketball at Sydney YMCA and served in his first administrative post in 1963, however, it was as a referee that he gained most recognition an elite level.

After establishing himself in the city and state competitions, Gough was chosen to officiate at Australian junior, senior men and senior women’s championships before gaining his FIBA badge in 1964.

Lesley Gough received a Distinguished Long Service Award at the 2020 NSW Community Sports Awards for his contribution to Basketball.
Lesley Gough received a Distinguished Long Service Award at the 2020 NSW Community Sports Awards for his contribution to Basketball.

After holding this qualification for more than a decade he was awarded a full honorary FIBA ticket and held the rank of No. 1 referee in New South Wales from 1964 to 1976.

That distinction was recognised by selection to represent Australia at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and in the 1971 women’s World Championships.

Gough became involved with Coffs Harbour Basketball Association through his teaching career at Woolgoolga High School and was instrumental in establishing the school basketball competition, where he coached multiple teams and volunteered in various other roles.

With his international refereeing background, he also mentored junior referees.

Gough remains a dedicated coach, life member of CHBA and unofficial caretaker of Sportz Central basketball stadium, lending a hand to anyone in need. He can often be found perched up high with a birds eye view, videoing State League home games or simply helping to keep the stadium clean, freshly painted, or repaired.

Grimson has been involved in Karting since January 1962 and has held positions from a local to national level while continuing to officiate at many club events and attends State Karting Council meetings.

Russell Grimson received a Distinguished Long Service Award at the 2020 NSW Community Sports Awards for his contribution to karting.
Russell Grimson received a Distinguished Long Service Award at the 2020 NSW Community Sports Awards for his contribution to karting.

Grimson is a founding member of Coffs Harbour Kart Racing Club. Their major event, the East Coast Over 40s, was established by him and remains one of the most successful meeting in the State.

He also established the Ladies Breast Cancer Fundraising Event held at Combined Districts Kart Club, receiving acknowledgment from the Governor-General for his achievement.

Grimson has been granted life membership by Karting NSW, Coffs Harbour Kart Racing Club, Combined Districts Kart Club and Vintage & Historical Kart Clubs.

Sport NSW Chairperson, Carolyn Campbell said Gough and Grimson were worthy Award recipients.

“Sport in NSW relies on people such as Lesley and Russell who have voluntarily dedicated their time over many decades. Put simply, sport would not exist without them,” she said.

“It is fitting these Distinguished Long Service Award recipients are recognised and honoured.”

“Without these hardworking, selfless volunteers, tens of thousands of boys and girls, men and women, would not be able to enjoy the health, social and community benefits sport provides.”



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