For many Victorians with disability, sport is an integral part of living a happy, healthy life. The annual Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation awards celebrate the achievements of people with disability and those who support them, and recognise excellence in the inclusive sport and recreation sector across the state.
It is an opportunity to acknowledge the athletes, volunteers, clubs, communities, venues and programs that make this sector unique, and enable and empower people with disability to get active and achieve their goals.
The finalists for the 2018 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to their sport, a high level of sportsmanship and achieved outstanding results. They inspire others, show excellence in their field and have a genuine desire to help others.
“These awards are an opportunity to discover unsung heroes and rising stars and celebrate what is truly great about accessible and inclusive sport,” said Richard Amon, CEO of Disability Sport & Recreation.
“I could not be prouder of the athletes, volunteers, coaches, officials, administrators, clubs and organisations that have shown what achievement and success looks like at every level.
“These awards are our opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for showcasing the talent, tenacity and humanity that is abundant in the disability sport and recreation sector.
“The stories shared enrich our community and prove the power of physical activity through sport and recreation to change lives and help us all to reach our potential.”
The finalists in each category are:
DeakinTALENT Female Sportsperson of the Year
- Georgia Powning (cross country) – second at the Athletics Australia Cross Country Championships
- Melissa Tapper (table tennis) – 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist
My Sport Live Male Sportsperson of the Year
- Jake De La Motte (basketball) – 2017 INAS World Basketball Championships bronze medallist and highest scorer
- Nathan Pellissier (table tennis) – 2017 Australian National Singles Champion
- Jontee Brown (wheelchair basketball) – 2017 IWBF World Championships Australia Under-23 bronze medallist
Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson of the Year
- Caytlyn Sharp (athletics) – 2017 INAS Athletics Championships gold medallist
- Bailey Jankovic (wheelchair basketball) – Basketball Australia Kevin Coombs Cup gold medallist
- Harry Mezger (athletics) – 2018 Australian Junior Athletics Championships bronze medallist
Masters Sportsperson of the Year
- Brendan Stroud (AFL Wheelchair) – AFL Wheelchair National Championships bronze medallist
- Maria Strong (seated thrower: shot put, discus, javelin) – 2018 Australian Athletics Championships gold medallist
Carbine Club Team of the Year
- Melton Lions All Abilities Cricket Team (cricket) – newly established team for the 2017/2018 season
- Victorian Cerebral Palsy Football Team (Paralympic soccer) – 2017 National Paralympic Football Championships silver medallists
- Casey Gymnastics Special O Athletes (gymnastics) – members of the Victorian team at the 2018 Special Olympics National Competition
Coach of the Year
- Emma Hosking (gymnastics) – Gymnastics Team Leader at the Boroondara Sports Complex YMCA
- Elizabeth Gosper (athletics) – Inclusive Sports Training and Ashwood School
- Anthony Risoli (soccer) – Northern Falcons FC Access All Abilities Football Team
Official of the Year
- Phillip Goodman (wheelchair tennis) – national and international referee
Volunteer of the Year
- Alana Baldi (Special Olympics, cricket and football)
- Arthur Dempster (cricket)
- Emily Higgins (netball)
Lifetime Achievement Award
- Jeremy Long (former wheelchair athlete, Director and Chair of Disability Sport & Recreation)
- Greg Crump (Tennis Australia wheelchair tennis coach)
VicHealth Initiative of the Year
- Gymnastics Victoria/Special Olympics – Special Olympics Gymnastics pathway
- Southern Masters Cycling Club – All Abilities Cycling
- Scope Australia – Get Active
Polytan Inclusive Sport, Recreation or Open Space Infrastructure Award
- Melbourne City Council – North Melbourne Recreation Reserve Multi-Use Sports Court
- Newcomb Power Football Club – Junior Section
Winners will be announced at an invitation-only awards ceremony to be held on August 1 at Southbank.
The event will be broadcast live at www.dsr.org.au/awards
“My Sport Live is proud to be involved with such a wonderful event and fantastic organisation like Disability Sport & Recreation,” said Andrew Weiss, Managing Director of My Sport Live.
“This event plays a huge role in recognising the part that so many people are playing in facilitating inclusive sport and recreation at all levels in Victoria and we are grateful for the opportunity to be involved.
“We are particularly pleased to be able to sponsor the Male Sportsperson of the Year award and look forward to announcing some exciting news regarding our partnership with Disability Sport & Recreation over the coming weeks.”
Previous winners include Paralympians such as Dylan Alcott, Isis Holt, Jessica Gallagher, Carol Cooke, Nazim Erdem, Ellie Cole and Toby Kane.
The awards are an initiative of Disability Sport & Recreation and are proudly supported by PwC, My Sport Live, the Carbine Club, Polytan, VicHealth, DeakinTALENT, Aligned Leisure, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria and Craig Wetjen Photography.