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Thrilla in the Hilla

Thursday, 18th October, 2018

Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer’s (ACLO) (from left) Dean Whyman, Darren ‘Ponch’ Hall and Ike Williams with Barrier Police District’s (from left) Senior Constable Dean Shiner and Constable Ben Kelly and PCYC Manager Heather Smith. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer’s (ACLO) (from left) Dean Whyman, Darren ‘Ponch’ Hall and Ike Williams with Barrier Police District’s (from left) Senior Constable Dean Shiner and Constable Ben Kelly and PCYC Manager Heather Smith. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Next weekend local police officer Dean Shiner will be going up against International Boxing Champion Solomon Haumono in a fierce but friendly match that’ll help promote a local police and PCYC program.

Called “Fit for Life”, the program hopes to better connect local kids with the police, PCYC and community leaders by bringing them all together twice a week to train, get fit, learn boxing and do other activities at the PCYC. 

The program is part of the NSW Police Commissioner’s RISE UP strategy and has been successfully implemented at other PCYC’s such as Bourke and Dubbo.

Detective Inspector Michael Fuller said the boxing match would provide a great opportunity to highlight the program before it launched in Broken Hill during November.

“It’s an initiative that we’re going to launch which will see vulnerable youth train before school, that we hope will break down barriers and get them ‘Fit For Life’,” he said.

“But the program is also for anyone else who wants to come along. It’s about connecting students and young people with the PCYC and with the police.

“As it’s done in other areas, it’s a couple days a week of training, breakfast and time together, and then off to school.

“It’s something we’re going to build through the PCYC here and (this event) is a great opportunity to get some buzz around it as we’re looking to launch it in November.” 

Helping to promote the program alongside Solomon Haumono will be fellow former NRL players Charlie Tonga and Mick Ostini as well as AFC Mixed Martial Artist Mikey Vaotuua and Samoan International Rugby Union player Iva Motusga.

Their visit to Broken Hill, which was originally organised by Impact Church Pastor Mark Horan, was utilised by local police so that they could help take part in the event and drum up interest.

“The exciting part is (that) we’ve managed to secure all these sports stars to come along and visit the town,” said Det. Insp. Fuller.

“This will be particularly exciting on the 27th, (when) a friendly sparring match between one of our police and Solomon Haumono will take place. It’ll be a good drawcard for the event.

Manager of Broken Hill PCYC Heather Smith said she was incredibly excited about the event and how it’s all come together.

“We can’t say how excited we are and how lucky we are that everything’s just lined up for us,” she said.

“The police program’s being launched in conjunction with the PCYC and we’ve been lucky enough to have these sports stars come into town to volunteer their time.

“Poor old Dean is about to jump into the ring with a heavyweight boxer. 

Heather welcomed the ‘Fit for Life’ program and said it would have a positive “ongoing effect” amongst the youth in the community and the boxing programs they already offered.

“Boxing’s a big part of the PCYC culture and ‘Fit for Life’ will allow us to expand the program we’ve  been running here for a few years,” she said.

“So we’ll leapfrog off this and offer some outreach to other towns, which will also allow us to start organising some fight nights and a local competition.”

SHINER V HAUMONO or the “Night of Champions”, so called given that Senior Constable Dean Shiner has played in the State Championships for Judo, will take place at the Broken Hill PCYC on Saturday, October 27 from 6pm to 8pm. The event is free and open to the public.

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