Two of Australia’s top table tennis players and a 16-year-old athletics gold medallist have taken out top honours in the female, male and junior sportsperson of the year categories respectively at the 2018 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards.
Held last night at Southbank, the awards recognise the achievements of people with disability, those who support them and the inclusive sport and recreation sector across the state.
Winners were also announced across masters sportsperson of the year, team of the year, coach of the year, official of the year, volunteer of the year, initiative of the year, a lifetime achievement award and best inclusive sport, recreation or open space infrastructure.
Dual Paralympian and Olympian Melissa “Milly” Tapper, who won individual gold in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast this year, won the DeakinTALENT Female Sportsperson of the Year award.
Making it a double for Australian table tennis, Nathan Pellissier, the Australian National Singles champion, took out the My Sport Live Male Sportsperson of the Year award.
Caytlyn Sharp, 16, from Terang, was awarded the Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson of the Year for her achievements in athletics, including a gold medal in T/F20 open women’s high jump at the INAS world athletics championships in Bangkok this year.
Richard Amon, CEO of Disability Sport & Recreation, said this year’s winners showcased the diverse nature of the disability sport and recreation sector.
“One of the wonderful things about these awards is that we get to see the remarkable accomplishments of so many different people and organisations,” he said.
“It is the level of commitment and dedication to success – whether that be through competition or by making sport and recreation a better, more inclusive space, that inspires me every year.
“I thank all our finalists and winners for their contributions. Their stories represent the strength of human spirit and a genuine desire to help and support others to achieve their goals.”
The winners in each category are:
DeakinTALENT Female Sportsperson of the Year
Melissa Tapper (table tennis) – 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist
My Sport Live Male Sportsperson of the Year
Nathan Pellissier (table tennis) – 2017 Australian National Singles Champion
Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson of the Year
Caytlyn Sharp (athletics) – 2017 INAS Athletics Championships gold medallist
Masters Sportsperson of the Year
Maria Strong (seated thrower: shot put, discus, javelin) – 2018 Australian Athletics Championships gold medallist
Carbine Club Team of the Year
Casey Gymnastics Special O Athletes (gymnastics) – members of the Victorian team at the 2018 Special Olympics National Competition
Coach of the Year
Elizabeth Gosper (athletics) – Inclusive Sports Training and Ashwood School
Official of the Year
Phillip Goodman (wheelchair tennis) – national and international referee
Volunteer of the Year
Alana Baldi (Special Olympics, cricket and football)
Lifetime Achievement Award
Greg Crump (Tennis Australia wheelchair tennis coach)
VicHealth Initiative of the Year
Southern Masters Cycling Club – All Abilities Cycling
Polytan Inclusive Sport, Recreation or Open Space Infrastructure Award
City of Melbourne – North Melbourne Recreation Reserve Multi-Use Sports Court
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.