Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:57): I would like to make a contribution to the house today on Georgia Hood. I want to give thanks to Bailey Rosenthal from my office, an admin officer, who is studying at our local university as well. I often set staff in my office a task, and Bailey's task was to research and put a speech together, so this is actually Bailey's speech. She is a great young person who will make a fabulous admin officer or future politician—who knows—and her parents should be rightly proud of her energy, professionalism and—
Ms Bedford: Dynamism.
Mr BELL: —dynamic nature—that is correct. Mount Gambier local Georgia Hood is a member of the 23 Australian women's softball squad fighting for a spot on the official Australian team for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. In the lead-up to the 2020 games, Georgia was cut in 2019, not making the final selection. However, when COVID-19 hit she got a second chance to impress the judges.
After four years of travelling to and from Mount Gambier, she decided to relocate to Adelaide to further advance her training. Lining up as first base, pitcher, and as a hitter, Georgia has landed in Japan and is ready to claim her spot in the team at the Tokyo games this year. Georgia first started playing softball at the young age of five or six, eagerly following in the footsteps of her mother and father, Tanya and Andrew Hood. She began playing juniors for Mount Gambier's Warriors Softball Club before moving to city softball with Seacombe Softball Club and Hills Heat.
Georgia became very successful at a state level, winning South Australian Junior Softball Athlete of the Year, South Australian softball A Grade Women's Rookie of the Year and winning Most Valuable Player for South Australia under-17 girls state team in 2016. The following year, Georgia again won South Australian Junior Softball Athlete of the Year, whilst also winning Most Valuable Player for the South Australian under-19 girls state team.
At a national level, Georgia represented South Australia in under-17s in the national championships in 2015 and again in 2016, as well as winning Best Batter award at the same event. In 2016, she was also selected in the All-Tournament Team at the Australian national girls under-17 softball championships. In 2017, Georgia represented South Australia under-17s and under-19s softball teams in the national championships. In the same year, at just 16 years of age, Georgia represented her country when she was selected in the under-19s Australian softball team—not a bad effort for a 16 year old—and competed in the world Junior Women's Softball World Championship in Clearwater, Florida, USA.
The following year at the under-19 nationals, Georgia won Most Valuable Player. In 2019, she won Rookie of the Year at the open women's softball championship, also winning the under-19 nationals Best Batter. Georgia represented her country again in 2019, as she was selected to compete in another world championship, competing in the junior Australian team for the 2019 world cup. The team overall placed seventh; however, after her exceptional performance, she quickly became Australia's go-to pitcher for critical games.
At just 20 years of age, Georgia has achieved an extraordinary amount throughout her softball career. I wish Georgia the best of luck and hope to watch her performance in the Olympics. It goes to show the extraordinary effort and commitment that country athletes have to make and go through to compete at an elite level. The number of kilometres and the hours away from home, travelling to and from both Adelaide and other city venues, are a credit to not only herself but her mum, Tanya, and her dad, Andrew, whom I had the pleasure of watching when I was growing up in Mount Gambier as elite sportspeople. Congratulations, Georgia, and all the best for the Olympics.