This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards (VDSR Awards) – a celebration of the achievements of sportspeople with disability, the coaches, organisations, officials and volunteers who support them and the inclusive sport and recreation sector across Victoria.
The VDSR Awards are an opportunity to discover unsung heroes and rising stars and celebrate what’s truly great about accessible and inclusive sport.
This night of nights for the disability sporting sector will be held on Wednesday 22 May 2019.
Entrants in the Awards are nominated by state sporting associations, regional sport assemblies, local government, teammates, club members, coaches or their local community in recognition of their outstanding contribution to inclusive sport and recreation.
The outstanding nominations received always makes selecting the finalists a difficult decision, with the tenth anniversary Awards being no different. Disability Sport & Recreation invited 12 highly qualified judges from the sector and charged them with picking the finalists and winners across the 11 award categories.
“Whether you are an athlete, volunteer, official, coach, club, venue or program at the grass roots or Paralympian level, our awards showcase the outstanding contribution that both individuals and our community make, to empower Victorians with disability to get active and achieve their goals,’ said Disability Sport & Recreation CEO, Richard Amon.
“I am incredibly proud that our awards have reached this milestone and we look forward to highlighting more achievements over the next ten years.
“Each year we see new athletes emerge, incredible new initiatives and more organisations changing or building sporting infrastructure that is accessible. You’d think we would’ve seen it all in the last ten years, but our sector just keeps progressing.
“In fact, this year’s awards are our most successful yet with a 24 per cent increase in nominations and a host of partners signing on to support the event.
“Our members have told us they take part in sport and recreation for fun, friendship and fitness. Giving people with disability better choice and access to physical activity is the key to making sure they are connected to our community and receiving the associated health and social benefits that participation brings, ‘ said Amon.
The VDSR Awards have previously celebrated elite level Paralympians including Dylan Alcott, who recently won his seventh grand slam singles title in wheelchair tennis and Dr Jessica Gallagher, who went on to become the 2018 Commonwealth Games Sports Ambassador for Cycling.
They have recognised the dedication and commitment to the sector by many individuals including Maurice Gleeson, who has worked tirelessly for the blind and vision impaired community for over 40 years and Greg Crump, whose contribution to wheelchair tennis both here and abroad stretches over 30 years.
Finalists in the 2019 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards are:
- Mel & Terry McMahon – Special Olympics tenpin bowling
- Tamika Simpson – gymnastics
Female Sportsperson of the Year
- Chloe Turner – athletics
- Hannah Macdougall – cycling
- Carla Lenarduzzi – tennis
My Sport Live Male Sportsperson of the Year
- Ben Roche – football (soccer)
- Marty Jackson – Paralympic shot put and para ice hockey
- Damon Vasterink – taekwondo
Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson of the Year
- Emily Shiell – athletics
- Montgomery Cooper – running
- Mitchell Bond – wheelchair basketball
WorkSafe Victoria Masters Sportsperson of the Year
- Orfeo Cecconato OAM – AFL Wheelchair (Collingwood)
- Mick Fawkner – seated thrower
- Bruno Moretti – table tennis
Carbine Club Team of the Year
- Victorian 7-a-side Cerebral Palsy State Football Team
- Australian Half Marathon Team, World INAS Games
Coach of the Year
- Vicky Lee – tennis
- Jye Yates – balloon football
- Emma Poynton – para ice hockey
Official of the Year
- Liam Costello – wheelchair rugby
- Tony Warland – tennis
- Jenny Forssman – gymnastics
PwC Volunteer of the Year
- Kellie Lindsay – camping and recreational programs
- Melissa Hale – Deaf cricket
- Libby Crouch – Special Olympics doctor
VicHealth Initiative of the Year
- Access and Inclusion Aquatics Program (Belgravia Leisure)
- Para badminton (Ability Para Badminton Club)
- Access All Terrain Program (YMCA Victoria, DHHS and Parks Victoria)
- Saints Wheelchair Basketball Program (Saints Basketball Club)
Polytan Inclusive Sport, Recreation or Open Space Infrastructure
- Lilydale to Warburton rail trail chicanes (Yarra Ranges Council)
This event is proudly supported by PwC, My Sport Live, the Carbine Club, Polytan, VicHealth, WorkSafe Victoria, Victoria State Government, YMCA Victoria, WISE Employment, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and Craig Wetjen Photography.