SA marathon runner Jess Stenson crowned Australia’s best female athlete for 2022

The 35-year-old athlete has been awarded Female Athlete of the Year, following her triumphant win at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

South Aussie marathon runner Jess Stenson nee Trengove has capped off an incredible year in winning a prestigious sports award.

Naracoorte born; Stenson was acknowledged as the Female Athlete of the Year at AIS Sport Performance Awards last night.

Stenson, 35, won her first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal in the women’s marathon at the Birmingham Games back in July.

Stenson had previously finished third at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and her home games in 2018 on the Gold Coast.

Stenson said winning the award came as a real surprise.

“It was certainly a shock but it was a really nice opportunity to be able to acknowledge the team that’s supported me this year to get the most out of myself,” Jess said.

“Winning the award was really a special honor and it means a lot.

“I have gained a lot of motivation from the athletes before me that have won it and other nominees.

“I am so grateful for the group I have around me and that includes my family, SASI, friends, the Australian community, Adam Didyk and my sponsors.

“My goal was to win Commonwealth Games gold, to tick that off was a big goal of mine after bronze the two games previous.

“Each year I thought I’ve made more and more progress.

“This year I have had some really fulfilling moments where I couldn’t have done any better and that to me is a success and this has been my best year yet.”

Growing up in a sporting family, Stenson spent her early days in Naracoorte in the South East of South Australia.

She was heavily involved in a variety of sports including athletics, netball, basketball and tennis and becoming an Olympian was a childhood dream.

Through the success of her siblings Abbie and Jack, Jess was inspired to chase her own goal in her early twenties.

Abbie represented the state in rowing and Jack played 86 games for the Melbourne Demons and three with Port Adelaide.

Her family eventually relocated to Adelaide where Jess competed at the Hills Districts Athletics Club.

Stenson stopped running professionally to have her son Billy in November 2019 and said there was uncertainty about the future.

“When you go into motherhood, there are lots of unknowns and you never know life is gonna change,” Jess said.

“To be able to do what I love at the highest level after having Billy is amazing and the support women in sport are getting is great.

“It’s an exciting time and it’s great that we are able to balance family and sport goals.”

Stenson said she was hoping to compete for Australia at the Paris Olympic Games and said she was hungry to pull on the green and gold again.

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