Three Maitland Sportsperson of the Year winners will be in the mix throughout the 16 days of the London Olympic Games.
Simon Orchard, Brendan Sexton and Josh Ross are all part of the Australian Olympic team for 2012 and during the past seven years been listed on the same honour roll.
Maitland may have even sent more delegates to a single Olympics but never like this.
Not three previous recipients of the city’s highest individual sporting honour.
Collectively the current crop make quite the trio and during the next two weeks they will help put the country NSW town of Maitland on the map in front of an international audience.
Orchard took out Maitland’s top sporting prize in 2008, shortly after cracking the national hockey team which he is still apart of today.
A year earlier Sexton made the grade for impressive junior results on the world triathlon stage, which he will grace as a senior in a little more than a week’s time.
Sprinter Ross exploded out of the blocks on his way to claiming two Stawell Gift races, multiple national 100 metre crowns and representation at the Athens Olympics, which saw him recognised in 2005 while he was training in the area.
The Maitland region has produced Olympians previously such as two-time gold medallist Matt Ryan, long distance runner Dave Power and cyclist Olivia Gollan while some like Nadine Neumann, have migrated to postcode 2320.
Out of Maitland’s sporting trifecta Orchard stands the best chance of bringing home a medal from London.
The Kookaburras have won each of the major championships – Champions Trophy four times in a row, Commonwealth Games and World Cup and they have contested post Beijing four years ago.
They go in as favourites and Orchard’s clubmates at the Maitland Rams will be keeping a close eye on the former member when he takes to the park for their opener with South Africa at 10.45am (7.15pm AEST).
The Kookaburras then face Spain, Argentina, hosts Great Britain and Pakistan in the preliminary rounds.
The Kookaburras will aim to progress to the medal rounds and emulate the success of Athens in 2004, which was the same year Orchard was completing his HSC at All Saints College, St Mary’s Campus, Maitland.
Also on Olympic debut in London is Brendan Sexton, a boy born and bred in Maitland.
It was his introduction to the sport through Maitland Triathlon Club that started his pathway to national selection, a satisfying goal achieved when qualifying for London on the hotly contested three-man team.
His race, after completing final preparations in France, will be held August 7 at the central London venue of Hyde Park. Both Sexton and Orchard are 26 years old.
Five years older is Ross, who is attending his second Games, this time as a member of the 4×100 metre relay team, after going to Athens in 2004.
Ross, who threatened to walk out of London 2012 because of selection disputes, achieved much of his success on the track while under the guidance of Gillieston Heights-based mentor Tony Fairweather.
n Catch London Eye in the Mercury each day and online during the Games.
n Twitter: @joshuacallinan.
n Radio: Catch Josh live from London on 1233 ABC Newcastle at 7.30am each day throughout the Games.
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