Sporting Wheelie of the Year: Robbie Vogt
Robbie is a driving force in the sport of goalball in Australia as a player, coach and administrator. The current captain of the Australian’s men’s goalball team had an outstanding year as a member of Queensland’s gold medal-winning men’s team at the National Goalball Championships in Perth, where he was named in the All-Star Team. In September, he was selected in the Australian team to compete at the Asia-Pacific Goalball Championships in Beijing.
Robbie has also made an impact this year as a goalball coach. He has worked with members of the national squad at the high performance hub in Brisbane, and been involved as a coach with the Brisbane social goalball program, which has seen a 33% increase in the number of local players over the past year.
Off the court, Robbie has played an important role in developing the sport in Australia. He was Treasurer of Goalball Australia up until their 2013 Annual General Meeting, having previously served as Vice-President. He also volunteers as an advisor to Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association’s goalball sub-committee.
Senior Male Athlete of the Year: Brenden Hall
Brenden was a triple winner at last year’s awards, including Sporting Wheelie of the Year. He continued his outstanding form in domestic and international competition in 2013, winning gold and setting a new world record for the S9 400m freestyle at the IPC Swimming World Championships in August. Brenden also won gold as a member of Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay team. He competed in a total of eight individual and relay events at the world championships and set new PBs in the 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley. Brenden also set new world records in the 800m and 1500m freestyle at the State Swimming Championships in Brisbane in
Senior Female Athlete of the Year: Carlee Beattie
Carlee was selected in the Australian team for the IPC Athletics World Championships in July, where she won silver in the women’s F46 long jump. She had an outstanding domestic season, twice breaking the world record with a jump of 5.93m in February and then 6.01m in March, which remains the current world record. The Paralympic silver medallist competes against able-bodied athletes at national level, and was a nominee in the Sportswoman of the Year category at the 2013 Queensland Womensport Awards.
Team of the Year: Suncorp Queensland Cyclones
The Suncorp Queensland Cyclones (Ben Newton, Chris Bond, Cameron Carr, Michael Ozanne, Kevin Kersnovske, James Duncan and Victorian draft player Anthony Gray) won back-to-back national championship trophies this year, taking out the 2013 National Wheelchair Rugby Championships in August. Gray filled in for Ryan Scott, who was unable to play due to illness. The team scored a comprehensive 63-48 win over Victoria in the finals. Chris Bond was awarded Most Valuable Player for the championships and named in the All Star Four. The tight-knit team features five members of the Australian wheelchair rugby squad, so these players juggled international competition and training commitments with their state roles. But the team is clearly stronger for it and fired up to make it three in a row in 2014.
Junior Male Athlete of the Year: Rheed McCracken
Sixteen-year-old Rheed has already achieved his dream of competing at the Paralympics in London, and he’s backed up with another outstanding year in domestic and international events in 2013. At the IPC Athletics World Championships in July, Rheed won three silver medals in the men’s T34 100m, 200m and 400m and bronze in the 800m. He made a clean sweep of gold medals in the 100m, 400m, 800m and 1500m at the Australian Athletics Championships in April and won the junior division of the Oz Day 10km race in January. Rheed is currently world No 1 for the T34 800m and 1500m and holds the world record in both events. He was joint winner of the Australian Paralympic Committee’s ‘Junior Athlete of the Year’ award in November last year and is a member of the Association’s Junior Development Program.
Junior Female Athlete of the Year: Kobie Donovan
Nineteen-year-old Kobie had outstanding results at the World Dwarf Games in the US in August. She was a member of the gold medal-winning Australian women’s 4x100m relay team and medalled in all of her individual events, winning gold in the javelin with a new World Games record throw of 19.39m, and bronze medals in the 100m and 200m. This followed gold and silver medals in the 100m and javelin at the Australian Open Nationals in April. Kobie finished the year with two gold medals for the 100m and javelin at the Queensland Athletics Para-Athletics Carnival in October. She has developed through the Association’s Junior Development Program to be an exciting sporting talent and mentor.
Most Improved Athlete of the Year: Matthew Stark
Matthew won this award in 2012, and the 13-year-old has taken his sport to another level again this year. Matthew competed at the Australian Age Multi Class Championship in April, where he recorded personal best times against older and more experienced swimmers. At state level, Matthew won 10 events at the McDonalds Multi Class Swimming Championships in September, setting nine PBs in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and individual medley events, and was awarded ‘Age Group Swimmer of the Meet’. Matthew trains nine sessions a week with his club Genesis Aquatics under former Australian Paralympic swim coach Brendan Keogh, and also trains with the South Pine Striders Running Club. Matthew is a member of the Association’s Junior Development Program and competes in athletics at a State level.
Coach of the Year: Rick Van Der Zant
Rick, from Brisbane’s Yeronga Park Swimming Club, has more than 20 years’ experience in swimming and works with athletes of all ages and abilities. He was selected as a national coach for this year’s IPC World Swimming Championships, where his swimmers included S9 100m freestyle bronze medallist Rowan Crothers, the gold medal-winning Australian men’s freestyle relay team, and S14 swimmer Kayla Clarke. Under Rick’s guidance this year, Rowan also broke the short course world record in the S9 men’s 400m freestyle. Yeronga Park won the most multi-class medals at both the long course and open water events at the national championships.
Col and Peter Marsh Volunteer of the Year: Keith Evans
Keith has made a major contribution to the successful running of sporting events and recreational activities for Association members in Brisbane throughout 2013. He served as a volunteer driver and general assistant at the state wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball and lawn bowls championships, working full days and multiple shifts including weekends and public holidays. Keith also volunteered weekly in the Brisbane office, helping to organise and deliver major recreation activities and outdoor adventures for members.
Allclear Print and Signs Gym Award: Peter Crimmins
Peter took his fitness program to a new level in 2013, after being a casual one-day-a-week gym user for many years. This year, he started working with the personal trainers in the Association’s Brisbane gym and increased to three sessions a week. The result has been improvements in weight loss, strength, flexibility and wellbeing. He is now able to transfer out of his chair for whole body exercises and use specialised equipment such as the tilt table for standing. Peter’s positive attitude and passion for his training inspires other gym users to achieve their best.
Official of the Year: Warrick Jackes
Honorary Life Member
Warrick is an internationally-accredited goalball referee with more than 20 years’ experience in the sport. He was the senior referee at the 2013 New Zealand Goalball Championships, where he conducted a referees clinic. He also served as referee coordinator for the Oceania region. At national level, Warrick was referee coordinator for Goalball Australia and the National Goalball Championships. He also conducted a referees clinic in South Australia in June and was referee coordinator at the Ben Stein Cup between Queensland and Western Australia. At state level, Warrick was referee coordinator for the Queensland Goalball Championships and the regular social competition in Brisbane. He was made an Honorary Life Member of the Association in June 2013.
Paul Bodington Media Award: Quest Community Newspapers
Quest Community Newspapers have provided regular, quality reporting of sport and healthy activity for people with a disability in the Brisbane region throughout 2013. Their focus on local news and achievers led to widespread coverage of our 2012 Annual Award winners, and news stories about athletes competing in sports such as athletics, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, lawn bowls, paracycling and shooting. The combination of coverage via Quest’s free community newspapers, digital editions and The Courier Mail online news service means that these stories have helped to inform hundreds of thousands of readers about sport and healthy activity for people with a disability.
Inclusive Services Award: Bowls Queensland
Bowls Queensland (BQ) won this award in 2012, and their commitment to inclusion continued throughout 2013. BQ are implementing their third inclusion charter with the Association, which includes a range of practical initiatives aimed at getting more people with a disability involved as players, coaches, officials and volunteers across their statewide network of 335 clubs. BQ’s inclusion initiatives range from staff and volunteer education, to club resources and regular promotion of bowls for people with a disability. BQ also partnered with the Association to run the annual Multi-Disability State Championships and the National Championships, with coverage via BQ’s social media, website and magazine.