Sporting Wheelie of the Year – Kobie Donovan (Gold Coast)
Kobie’s dedication to sport, and strong leadership saw her lead a team of 29 athletes as captain of the Australian team at the 2017 World Dwarf Games. Kobie, 23, a true all-round athlete, led by example claiming individual gold medals in the women’s javelin and 100m sprint, and silver in the women’s soccer, badminton singles and 4x100m relay, and bronze in the badminton doubles.
Earlier in the year, she also claimed gold in the javelin and 100m events at the Australian Athletics Championships. In her first year competing in the sport of badminton, she went on to represent Australia at the Para-Badminton World Championships, reaching the quarter finals of both women’s singles and mixed pairs.
As an Association Game Changer Ambassador and advocate for inclusion, Kobie helped spread the message about inclusive sport and healthy activity at a number of engagements, including co-presenting her first Sports CONNECT Education workshop as part of the Get Active Queensland Accreditation Program. Kobie also attended the 2017 ACHPER (Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation) conference where she presented to fellow teachers and other professionals working in the fields of health and physical education.
Open Male Athlete of the Year – Simon Patmore (Nundah)
Simon, 30, previously a Summer Paralympic sprinter, truly made his mark on the para-snowboarding circuit in 2017. Simon competed in 11 international events, securing…
- Gold in the men’s upper limb impaired snowboard cross event at the Phya World Para Snowboard World Cup
- Silver in the banked slalom events at the Breckenridge World Para Snowboard NorAm and Tremble Cone World Para Snowboard World Cup, and
- Bronze in snowboard cross at the Tahoe NorAm Sierra against a strong field of competitors.
Simon has his sights set on winning gold at the upcoming 2018 Winter Paralympic Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea in March.
Open Female Athlete of the Year – Lakeisha Patterson (Caboolture)
Lakeisha, 18, had another stellar year in the pool during 2017, breaking multiple world records in 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events throughout the year, as well as more than 15 Australian and Oceania Records. Lakeisha is currently ranked number one in the world for the women’s S8 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley, 3rd in 50m backstroke and 100m butterfly, 4th in 100m backstroke.
Lakeisha’s outstanding results saw her awarded the top junior female swimmer of the 2017 World Series (a series of events across five countries, where athletes accumulate points – Lakeisha swam in only one event of the series in Indianapolis, claiming five gold and one silver medal and accumulating enough points to top all other junior female athletes of the series).
Junior Male Athlete of the Year – Nathan Donaldson (Bundaberg)
Nathan, 15, made an outstanding international track-racing debut at the IPC World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Notwill, Switzerland, winning a silver medal in the 400m, and bronze medals in the 100m and 200m.
Nathan continued to achieve personal best times under varying track conditions during Australian domestic events in 2017, as well as gaining confidence as a public speaker, encouraging others in regional areas to participate in sport and lead active, healthy lives.
Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Laura Mladenovic (Townsville)
Laura, 17, is an all-round athlete, with achievements spanning across track and field, basketball and soccer during 2017. Laura represented Australia at the World Dwarf Games in Canada in August, winning…
- two gold medals (shot put and javelin)
- three silver (soccer, 100m girls relay and 200m sprint)
- two bronze (basketball and 100m sprint);
At the Queensland School Sport 13-19yrs Track and Field carnival in Brisbane in October, Laura also claimed:
- two gold (javelin and 200m sprint)
- one silver (long jump) and
- two bronze medals (shot put and 100m sprint)
These achievements were even more amazing considering Laura had to put her sporting pursuits on hold for two years due to mobility issues in her elbows before returning to action last year. Laura also volunteers her spare time at fundraising events for the Association in the Townsville region, and managed to do all of this whilst achieving outstanding year 12 academic results.
Most Improved Athlete of the Year – Marcus Lentini (Albany Creek)
Marcus, 10, is the youngest wheelchair tennis competitor in the world to achieve an international ranking and is currently ranked 16 (of 45 boys) in the world. He is the second highest ranked junior player in Australia, competing against athletes aged mostly 13-18 years.
Marcus won the ITF Junior Singles and Junior Doubles events at the Queensland Wheelchair Tennis Open in Brisbane in June – he was the youngest (by two years) of five competitors from Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
At the Australian National Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Melbourne in November, he placed third (of five) in the National Mixed Junior Singles event and won the National Junior Mixed Doubles event, then followed a week later with another doubles win and singles runner-up at the Metropolitan Open in Sydney.
Marcus has improved tremendously, having not placed in either the Queensland Open or National Championship events in 2016, to achieving his international ranking in 2017.
Team of the Year – Queensland Men’s Goalball Team
The Queensland Men’s Goalball Team of Jon Horsburgh, Michael Sheppard and Brendan Young, coached by Greg Scott (head coach) and Robyn Stephensen (assistant coach) claimed undefeated gold at the 2017 Australian Goalball Championships in October against teams from Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Michael was named in the All Star 6, alongside Jon who was also named MVP and highest point scorer of the tournament. The men’s outstanding performance also contributed to Queensland being awarded the Champion State title.
Coach of the Year – Bill Nancarrow (Carseldine)
Bill dedicates over 20 hours per week to coaching Queensland and Australian para powerlifters. In 2017, Bill was instrumental in ensuring the smooth transition of para powerlifting under a new agreement between the APC and Powerlifting Australia (PA), training coaches and program staff in the intricacies of para powerlifting. This transition is already showing dividends with an increase in the number of lifters across the country, as well as improved individual performances.
As head coach of the Australian delegation for the 2017 Para Powerlifting World Championships in Mexico, Bill was responsible for the preparation and in-competition performance of three male and three female lifters who live in various locations across Australia. At the National Para Powerlifting Championships on the Gold Coast in November, Bill coordinated 17 athletes and their personal coaches to compete at their peak, and coached lifters to three national records at the Queensland Para Powerlifting Championships in Brisbane in May.
Because of his commitment and excellence, Bill has been appointed as the team manager of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games para powerlifting team.
Official of the Year – Christine Reimann (Brisbane/Toowoomba)
Christine provided over 180 hours of valuable service to the Association in coordinating referees across the state for Association-run wheelchair basketball events during 2017.
Her efforts have improved the level of officiating at the Brisbane Wheelchair Basketball League, encouraging elite level players to compete at the weekly program and increasing the level of competition for all involved.
Christine coordinated the referees at The Classics – Queensland Wheelchair Basketball Championships, including recruiting three inter-state referees to provide a high level of officiating at the event while also refereeing herself – a significant contribution, with many hours communicating with referees and ensuring all games were rostered with the appropriate level of referee experience.
Christine also volunteered her time to referee at the Association’s 2017 Corporate Challenge and is a valued referee in the Women’s and Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Leagues.
Col and Peter Marsh Volunteer of the Year – Donna Sumpter (Mackay)
Donna’s contribution to the Association’s recreation, sporting and fundraising events in the Mackay region is unsurpassed, volunteering over 540 hours throughout 2017.
In her role as team (and tour) manager she supported the Mackay Machines’ to attend a range of competitions including the Northern Challenge Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Mackay and Townsville and The Classics – Queensland Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Brisbane.
Donna was also the team/tour manager for the Queensland Rolling Thunder attending the Suncoast Spinners Tournament at the Sunshine Coast, a team training camp in Brisbane and the Kevin Coombs Cup Junior National Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Townsville.
This included coordination of two teams of athletes travelling on various flights and road transport to Townsville, as well as scheduling of ground transport throughout the week of competition. She also ensured uniforms were clean and fresh each day, athletes were well hydrated during games, and contributed significantly to reducing the overall cost to players by home-cooking meals before and during the event – ensuring the athletes had affordable, nutritious and tasty meals rather than take-away food.
Donna’s meticulous planning and communication greatly reduces stress on other team staff and in particular the athletes, allowing them to focus on game preparation and performance.
In addition to volunteering for wheelchair basketball Donna’s efforts contributed to raising much needed funds for the region through the Rio Tinto River 2 Reef Bike Ride, and ensured that Mackay members enjoyed opportunities including an Elton John concert, water ski days, weekends away, Christmas party and the Association’s 40th Anniversary Celebrations in Mackay.
Allclear Print and Signs Fitness Award – Reigne Dadey (Coorparoo) / Mitch McCracken (Zillmere)
Reigne began training at The Gym in August 2016 after an accident left her with C6 quadriplegia. Reigne attends both NeuroMoves activity-based therapy and personal training sessions four days per week, as well as volunteering in The Gym office. Reigne is a great example of pushing neurological recovery to see how much function can be regained. Her commitment to training has led to increased strength and independence, allowing her to transfer to and from her wheelchair independently and pursue driving lessons. She uses her achievements to motivate others to push their own boundaries and strive to achieve their best.
Mitch has demonstrated excellent improvements since commencing training at The Gym in April 2016, after an accident left him with quadriplegia. Attending up to 10 hours per week personal training and NeuroMoves activity-based therapy, Mitch has improved his seated posture and strength which has enabled him to use his manual wheelchair full time and slide transfer (rather than be hoisted) in the gym. Through improved strength, Mitch has been able to achieve more independence in self-care and activities of daily living and has been able to travel overseas with his family to visit relatives.
Mitch’s ability to perform and participate in wheelchair rugby has also improved, with better
speed and presence in the game. Mitch always attends the gym with enthusiasm and engages with all members and staff. He motivates, encourages and takes time with other members to talk about his own personal experiences and provides advice and support, sharing ideas and information. Mitchell encompasses all that the Association gym strives to be; inclusive of all, building a motivating environment and supporting each other to achieve their personal best.
Paul Bodington Media Award – Victoria Carthew
A highly-respected Brisbane journalist, broadcaster, producer and emcee, Victoria blames the Sydney 2000 Paralympics for getting her hooked on sport for people with a disability. Victoria worked at the Sydney 2000 Olympics for the 7 Network, but then went to the 2000 Paralympics as a member of the Australian Team working as a media liaison officer, working with many incredible athletes including the Association Sporting Wheelie of the Year (2002, 2004, 2005, 2008) and Paralympic World Record Holder Chris Scott.
Victoria joined Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association in May 2004 as a volunteer member of the Association’s Advisory Council, and has continued to serve on the Council as well as providing countless hours of voluntary media training and professional development for young athletes with a disability and Association ambassadors.
As we are all well aware, Victoria has volunteered as the MC at the Association’s annual awards presentation dinner forever!
Victoria’s understanding of the skill and commitment of para-sport athletes, and her passion and commitment to the promotion of inclusion, makes her a tremendous role model for the wider media.
For her long-standing advocacy and support of both the Association and athletes with a disability in Queensland, the Association honours Victoria Carthew with the 2017 Paul Bodington Media Award.
2017 Honorary Life Member – Ray Epstein