PENNY Smith is returning to competition for the first time since representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in August.
The Bookaar-raised clay target shooter will compete in the Shooting Australia-endorsed Mildura Grand Prix this weekend, using it as a lead-up event to the Victorian titles next month and Australian championships in January.
Smith, who was unveiled as South West Sport's chairperson award winner on Friday night, said she would compete with Tom Grice, her Olympic teammate in the mixed pairs competition.
"It is the first time we'e caught up since the games, so it's good to catch up with him and also coaches up here as well," she told The Standard.
"It's a bit of a reunion after the games. It is a building process until next year. Our national championships are in January. From now until then it's just training and a few club comps and hit the ground running for 2022.
"There's no expectations this weekend. I just want to get out there and have fun."
Smith is easing back into day-to-day life after a hectic training schedule prior to Tokyo, where she finished sixth in the women's trap final.
Three months' work with her Parks and Gardens team in Colac gave her a sense of normality. She is now working at the town's pool again after it re-opened two weeks ago. "You just miss that daily routine, catching up with your mates each day, having a laugh and hanging a bit of shit on each other," Smith said.
The South West Sport chairperson award recognises an athlete or coach from the region who has gone on to achieve at national or international level.
Smith, who was disappointed she couldn't make Friday night's awards ceremony, said it was "an absolute honour" to be picked.
"What South West Sport and South West Academy of Sport do for the community is great and I have benefitted from that over the years," she said. The athlete, who is already eyeing the Paris Games in 2023, encouraged other award winners to dedicate themselves to their chosen sports. "100 per cent just follow your dream, if you want something so desperately, be determined to get it and train hard and work hard for it," Smith said. "You're going to have to make sacrifices but those sacrifices will pay off in the long run."
Volunteer of the year: Corangamite Shire: Colin Venn, Terang Golf Club; Glenelg Shire: Anna Impey, Portland Basketball Club; Moyne Shire: Peter McDonald, Purnim Recreation Reserve; Southern Grampians Shire: Renae Porter, Hamilton Football Netball Club; Warrnambool City Council: Denise Burrell, Archers of Warrnambool
All-abilities team of the year: Hamilton Boomers
School team of the year: Emmanuel College year nine girls' beach volleyball team
Club team of the year: Warrnambool Mermaids girls' under 14 championship team
Club of the year: Warrnambool Tri Club
Coach/official of the year: Thomas Cossens, Warrnambool Basketball
Junior girls' athlete of the year: Sophie Grist, Action Sports Aerobics
Junior boys' athlete of the year: George Stevens, Warrnambool Basketball
Individual athlete with a disability award: Aaron Skinner, Nestles Rowing Club
Masters athlete of the year: Sue Walter, Hamilton Lawn Tennis Club
Open women's athlete of the year: Emily Morden, Athletics South West Turbines
Open men's athlete of the year: Neil Crisp, City Memorial Bowls Club
Keith Wilson chairperson award: Penny Smith, Colac Clay Target Club
Supreme sportsperson of the year: Emily Morden, Athletics South West Turbines