Tomorrow, Victor Kovalenko, the renowned sailing coach, will become an Australian citizen in front of representatives of the Australian sailing community, friends and family at the Sandringham Yacht Club.
The Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Gary Hardgrave, will welcome Victor Kovalenko, the Australian Yachting Federation (AYF) and Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Head Coach (sailing), into the Australian family by conferring citizenship on him in Melbourne on the 17th January.
Mr Kovalenko, known internationally as the 'Medal Maker' because of his continued coaching successes, coached the Australian 470's Sailing Team to two gold medals at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Victor first arrived to Australia in October 1997 from the Ukraine to work with the Australian Yachting Federation in the role of National Coach for the 470 Men's and Women's Olympic classes.
Victor's work with the athletes in these classes led to extraordinary results in 1999 and 2000, with Australia winning Gold in both 470 events at the 2000 Olympic Games.
Kovalenko was named AYF National Head Coach and AIS Sailing Program Head Coach in November 2000 and in reflection on his decision to become an Australian citizen said, "I love Australia very much, there is a great sense of freedom and I love the spirit of the people. For me the people are the real Australia, they inspire me to be Australian and work for my Australian team - friendly, fantastic and amazing people".
Victor Kovalenko is employed as the Australian Instituted of Sport (AIS) Head Coach, AYF National Head Coach and National 470 class coach.