Awards Finalists announced...
Gold medal winning Paralympians, teenage world champions, grass-roots coaches, infrastructure developers, dedicated volunteers and officials and inclusion advocates are among the outstanding entrants to be shortlisted as finalists for the 2017 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards. With a record number of nominations, new sponosrs, new venue and an afternoon time slot, this year's awards are shaping up as the biggest and best yet.
The awards recognise the accomplishments of people with disability, those who support them, and the inclusive sport and recreation sector across the state.
It is an opportunity to celebrate the athletes, volunteers, clubs, communities, venues and programs that enable and empower people with disability to get active and achieve their goals.
“We are extremely proud of the level of excellence shown by all our finalists,” said Richard Amon, CEO of Disability Sport and Recreation.
“These awards not only celebrate achievement, but showcase the sportsmanship, professionalism and community spirit that exists in the disability sport and recreation sector.
“We are also saying thank you to our sector for all it has achieved - the dedication and commitment shown through countless hours by athletes, volunteers, coaches, officials, administrators, clubs and organisations".
The finalists in each category are:
Deakin University Female sportsperson of the year:
• Hannah Macdougall – cycling – 2017 Para Cycling World Cup gold and silver medallist
• Isis Holt – athletics – 2017 Para Athletics World Cup 2 x gold medallist
Male sportsperson of the year:
• Ben Roche – soccer – Paralympian and FFV All Abilities Football Ambassador
• Mitchell Gourley – alpine skiing – world champion and Paralympian
• Todd Hodgetts – athletics – Paralympic and Para Athletics bronze medallist
Marg Angel Junior sportsperson of the year:
• Alex Vuillermin – volleyball/rowing – state and junior national teams/potential Para Rowing World Championships
• Cosimo Cirillo – soccer – Australian Paralympic Football team
• Jaryd Clifford – athletics – 2017 Para Athletics bronze medallist
Masters sportsperson of the year:
• Bryce Alman – wheelchair rugby – former international competitor, now State player/coach
• Carol Cooke – cycling – Paralympic and Para Cycling World Championship gold medallist
Team of the year:
• Victorian Vikings – cricket – athletes with intellectual disability, winners of the inaugural National Cricket Inclusion Championships
• Victoria Protect Thunder – wheelchair rugby – Victoria’s State wheelchair rugby team who were top state in all 3 rounds so far of national championship series
Coach of the year:
• Alexia Keats – Swimming – head coach at Maccabi Swimming Club All Abilities program
• Ben Peacock – Blind cricket and tenpin bowling – local leagues
• Lawrence Gileno – wheelchair tennis – head coach Hume Wheelchair Tennis Hub
Official of the year:
• Liam Costello – wheelchair rugby – local, national and international referee
• Shane Crick – basketball – umpire/coach/player deaf and hearing basketball, Deaflympics
Volunteer of the year:
• Alana Baldi – Special Olympics and cricket
• Cate Sayers – dance and fitness
• Dennis Ramsay – wheelchair basketball
Lifetime achievement award:
• Cameron West and Adam Barry – balloon football – co-founders of Balloon Football League
• Maurice Gleeson – blind sports – President, Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria
Initiative of the year:
• All Abilities Sport Ballarat
• Deaf Tennis Hub, Doncaster Tennis Club
• Hume Tennis and Community Centre Wheelchair Tennis Hub
Infrastructure of the year:
• Livvis Playspace, Craigieburn ANZAC Park, Hume City Council Touched by Olivia Foundation
• Booran Road Reserve, Caulfield, City of Glen Eira
• Casey Stadium, City of Casey
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at 4.30pm on August 17 at Southbank.
Now in its ninth year, previous winners include Paralympians such as Dylan Alcott, Jessica Gallagher, Carol Cooke, Nazim Erdem, Ellie Cole and Toby Kane, as well as local heroes Brenton Ponza, Gary Connor and the Jetz Balloon Football team.