7 February, 2023
Ambassador calls on youth to dream big
Describing Gilgandra as a town of “big hearts and big hats”, Australia Day Ambassador, Victor Kovalenko OAM thoroughly enjoyed his adventure in the town of windmills and Coo-ees.
Addressing last week’s celebrations, the legendary sailing coach — who trained a total of 10 Olympic medal winners during his illustrious career - expressed his excitement at the potential of all young people, and called on them to dream big, saying anything is possible in Australia.
“Australia is the country of opportunities;
and now is the time of opportunities,” Mr
“They are free, they have plenty of time. The
number one thing to do, is have a dream. Then
you will meet in your life a lot of people, who
will show you that it’s not only a dream — that
it’s a goal.
“When you make a plan, it becomes a goal.
The more ambitious your dreams, this is an indication
of who you are,” he added.
“If you’re working hard, if you have support
of your community and friends, then miracles
will happen. You will reach your goal.
“You can be whatever you want. If you want
to be an Olympic champion, an admiral of the
Navy, top class scientist or artist or even prime
minister of Australia. If you are young, anything
is possible,” he said.
Mr Kovalenko appreciated his time in
Gilgandra, and enjoyed meeting the community
who, he said: “was like one big family”.
“It has been a special two days. I have met a
lot of people, with a lot of interesting chats. I
can feel now, that you have a very good and
strong community. All of you are like a big family,”
“You all work hard in the fields, in flood,
rain, cold, heats, to feed Australia, and when
you are celebrating, you are all together celebrating
Calling us all his “friends”, Gilgandra’s parting
gift to Mr Kovalenko, was nothing other
than a wide brimmed straw hat.
“I am very happy with this hat!” he laughed.
“You are the town of people with big hearts
and big hats, I have never seen a bigger hat in
“I will use this hat all around the world, and
it will always give me great memories of your
hospitality and your big hearts.”
Mr Kovalenko said he was grateful for the support himself and his wife were shown during their time here, and looks forward to visiting again in the near future.