Samuel Wilson is proud to represent the relatively small Footscray City Rowing Club at elite levels.

Wilson is proof you do not have to be from one of the bigger city clubs to enjoy success in top level competitions.

The 16-year-old has dominated in his age level in Victoria this year, winning the under 17s singles title at the state championships and reigning in the Herald and Sporting Globe Shield, a six-week handicap event.

Wilson is using his success to promote Footscray City and the sport of rowing in the local area.

“We’ve got quite an under-represented club in the juniors,” he said. “To be able to win those competitions and represent the club, it shows that even quite a small club can still produce athletes that can win high level awards.

“We need more people down here.

“Come and get on the river.”

Wilson loves the thrill of race day.

When it comes to the final 500 metres of a two kilometre race, he is in his element.

“It’s a great sport to do,” he said. “I enjoy the people I’ve met along the way and I love racing.

“The best part is when you’ve got to put everything on the line, especially when you’ve come from the back and you’re racing to get to the front, it’s what I like about the races.”

Wilson’s year kicked off on a high with success at the state championships.

It gave the West Footscray resident the green light to represent Victoria at the national championships in Penrith.

Unfortunately, that is where Wilson’s low point of the season came.

The year 11 student at Footscray City College was not afforded the chance to show his best form. “I was really sick at the time, so I wasn’t able to perform at the level I would have liked to,” Wilson said. “My aim is to go back again next year, which will be a bit tougher because I’ll be going in as under-age.”

Wilson got healthy in time to compete in the prestigious Herald and Sporting Globe Shield.

The event has been held on the Yarra River since 1927 and consists of six handicap races over a two kilometre course.

Wilson won five of the six races to take out the shield.

Each race he started from the back of the field and worked his way to the front.

Wilson secured the shield after the sixth and final race – the only leg he did not win.

He only needed to better the points of one of his closest rivals to take out the shield, so he competed in a more tactical fashion.

“It’s quite an honour to win that shield because it’s been going for nearly 100 years,” Wilson said. Wilson is the September nominee for the Don Deeble Rising Star award.

The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and Star Weekly, recognises young athletes from the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and or national levels. Wilson will receive $1000 and other prizes, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, to assist him in achieving his sports goals.