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Bowls - 09. March 2013.

Cottrell in the mix for athlete of the decade

World champion Kelsey Cottrell is among a handful of contestants in the running to be named the Sunshine Coast athlete of the decade.

The Sunshine Coast Daily is running the online poll on their website, sunshinecoastdaily.com.au, to anoint the region's premier athlete of the past 10 years, with only ten athletes making it through to the final stage.

Cottrell, who has donned the green and gold uniform for Australia on 189 occasions since making her debut as the youngest ever senior Australian representative as a 15 year-old in 2005, enjoyed a stellar 2012 that included an Australian Open triples crown, a gold and silver medal at the six-nation SA International Series, and culminated in a gold medal in the women's pairs discipline at the sport's most coveted event, the 2012 World Championships.

The empathic victory over defending champions Val Smith and Jo Edwards, from New Zealand, was made all the more impressive by the fact Cottrell, 22, and fellow Jackaroo Rebecca Quail, 24, became the youngest players in the tournament's history to claim the pairs trophy.

Commencing this year in blinding fashion, Cottrell also added the 2013 Australian Open pairs trophy to her ever-expanding warchest last month, earning a rare treble after being part of the first combination to go back-to-back with triples wins in 2011 and 2012.

Among those included in the final ten are the likes of swimming Olympic gold medallist Melanie Schlanger, touch football star Peta Rogerson, longboard surfing ace Josh Constable and champion ironman Zane Holmes.

The list features eight Sunshine Coast Sports Federation's Sports Stars of the Year winners from the past 10 years, including Cottrell who claimed the title in 2009, along with two wildcards, canoeing's Clint Robinson and rugby league's Chris Flannery.

The top-five list and a story on the winner will appear in a special Sunshine Coast Daily feature on Saturday, March 16.

Cottrell will look to continue her recent success against New Zealand on the international stage later this month, after once again being handed the highly-prized singles role for the upcoming battle against the Black Jacks in the annual Trans Tasman encounter, staged at Howick Bowling Club in Auckland from March 20 to 22.
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