Supporting outstanding sporting achievements

A 16-year old Paralympic world champion sprinter, a Para Alpine skier and a former Little Athletics competitor have taken out top honours in the female, male and junior sportsperson of the year categories respectively at the 2017 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards.

Held on 17th August at Price Waterhouse Coopers Southbank, the awards recognise the accomplishments of people with disability, those who support them and the inclusive sport and recreation sector across the state.

Winners were also announced for 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 Inclusive Sport, Recreation or Open Space Infrastructure Award.

Former Victorian Governor, the Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC presented an award on behalf of the Carbine Club, a major supporter of the awards.

Isis Holt, 16, from Brunswick, capped off a stellar year of competition, winning the Deakin University Female Sportsperson of the Year award. Holt, a T35 athlete, won both the 100m – in world record time, and 200m – in championship record time, at the recent 2017 Para Athletic Championships in London.

Mitchell Gourley, from Barwon Heads, took out the Male Sportsperson of the Year award. A two-time Paralympian in alpine skiing, Gourley scored his first world championship gold medal in Italy this year in the Super Combined Event after finishing top three in his past five World Cup events.

Jaryd Clifford,18, from Greensborough, was awarded the Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson of the Year for his achievements in athletics, including a bronze medal in the 1500m at the Para Athletics championships in London this year.

Richard Amon, CEO of Disability Sport & Recreation, said the quality of nominations had been extremely high and the results were very close.

“Congratulations to all our winners, and finalists, across all categories,” he said.

“Your achievements, both on and off the sporting arena, do you proud. Your stories are an inspiration to others and not only do they speak of your passion, commitment and excellence, they showcase the sportsmanship and community spirit that exists in the disability sport and recreation sector.

“We thank you all for your contribution to our community and demonstrating that physical activity through sport and recreation really does have the power to change lives.”

Shane Dunne, General Manager – Operations for Aligned Leisure, remarked how important it was for these athletes, coaches and volunteers to be recognised.

“Celebrating the successes of these great athletes was an inspiring evening, one that Aligned Leisure were immensely proud to support,” he said.

“Not only have the winners and nominees excelled in their chosen field, they have overcome significant adversity and inspired many others along the way”.


The winners in each category are:

  • Deakin University Female Sportsperson of the Year
    Isis Holt – athletics – 2017 Para Athletics World Cup 2 x gold medallist
  • Male Sportsperson of the Year
    Mitchell Gourley – alpine skiing – world champion and Paralympian
  • Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson of the Year
    Jaryd Clifford – athletics – 2017 Para Athletics bronze medallist
  • Masters Sportsperson of the Year
    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
  • Coach of the Year
    Alexia Keats – swimming – head coach at Maccabi Swimming Club All Abilities program
  • Official of the Year
    Liam Costello – wheelchair rugby – local, national and international referee
  • Volunteer of the Year
    Alana Baldi – Special Olympics and cricket
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    Maurice Gleeson – blind sports – President, Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria
  • Initiative of the Year
    All Abilities Sport Ballarat – sporting programs for children with a disability
  • Inclusive Sport, Recreation or Open Space Infrastructure Award
    Livvi’s Place, Craigieburn ANZAC Park – City of Hume / Touched by Olivia Foundation – an inclusive playspace where children with a disability can be socially included and access all play activities in the same way as their peers.

The awards are an initiative of the Victorian charity Disability Sport & Recreation and are supported by Deakin University, the Carbine Club, the Taxi Services Commission, City of Melbourne, Protect, VicHealth, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Jetaway Travel, AIA, Aligned Leisure and Print Supply.



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