Jared Graves accepts his Senior Sports Star of the Year Award
Blake Anderson accepts his Junior Sports Star of the Year Award

More than 500 people were on hand to see Jared Graves and Blake Anderson crowned the Darling Downs' leading sports stars on Saturday night (February 6th).

Olympic BMX rider and world champion mountain biker rider Graves took home the Sports Darling Downs Senior Sports Star of the Year award for the second successive year.

Anderson was rewarded for his efforts in leading the Australian under 16 indoor cricket team to world championship success by being crowned the Junior Sports Star of the Year.

A number of athletes were recognised for their efforts throughout the night, as Sports Darling Downs distributed more than $20,000 in cash prizes.

The night also provided an opportunity for triple-Olympian Justin Anlezark to farewell the Toowoomba community.

Anlezark, who announced his retirement in The Chronicle last week, took the opportunity to thank a number of people and sponsors who had helped him achieve so much in his sport.

Jared Graves headed to the Sports Darling Downs annual awards presentation hoping to win - but not for himself.

Graves had decided that should he win a second successive Senior Sports Star of the Year award, he would give the $4000 prize money to renowned Toowoomba motocross rider Bryan Flemming.

Flemming was paralysed in a riding accident on July 19 last year and, after capturing the region's most prestigious sporting title again, Graves wanted to give something back to someone who helped kick-start him toward becoming an Olympian and World Champion.

On accepting his award Graves said "he (Flemming) needs this a little bit more than I do right now".

"I'd decided that if I won something tonight I was going to give it straight to Bryan," Graves said.

"He was one of the guys I really looked up to when I was younger and who motivated me.

"I got to know him a fair bit probably about 12 months ago when we were building tracks on his property.

"I really got to know him a bit more and hearing about the accident when I was away overseas really hit home a little bit."

Graves, who has been travelling overseas to compete, said Flemming was unaware of his decision to donate his $4000 winner's cheque.

The world champion mountain bike rider won the major award, while Troy Gurski, who captained the Australian indoor cricket team to world championship success, was named runner-up.

Archery Commonwealth Games hopeful Lyndon May won the Chase Your Dreams Award, while AWD track and field athlete Sam Carter was named senior rookie.

In the junior section, indoor cricketer Blake Anderson was crowned Junior Sports Star of the Year.

Anderson captained the Australian under 16 team to win the world cup and was named Player of the Championships.

"I just thought I was coming along to pick up my monthly award. I didn't think I'd win the big one," Anderson said.

"It's been a big year and this is very unexpected."

Swimmer Hayley Wolff won the junior runner-up award, kart driver Tyler Greenbury won the junior Rookie and swimmer Adam Paroz took home the junior Chase Your Dreams award.