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Excellence recognised at inaugural NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony
Two-time Olympian Jessica Fox has joined the greats of NSW sport in being named Athlete of the Year at the gala NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens on Monday night.
Fox received the Athlete of the Year Award ahead of nominees including Olympic discus thrower Dani Stevens, Test cricketer Ellyse Perry, world champion diver Rhiannan Iffland, world number one croquet player Alison Sharpe, surf lifesaving beach sprinter Jake Lynch and Jillaroos rugby league player Simaima Taufa.
Fox, a medallist at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympic Games, enjoyed an outstanding year winning a total of 13 individual medals and three team medals in the women’s C1 and K1 events at the 2017 World Cups and World Championships.
The evening saw, for the first time, the induction of new entrants into the NSW Hall of Champions combined with the NSW Sports Awards in one gala ceremony.
Commenting that Fox was joining legendary sporting heroes, NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres commented “six of the seven NSW Athlete of the Year finalists were women, and Jessica stood next to an outstanding array of sports finalists.
“Jessica is an exceptional young role model for all athletes, and I look forward to continuing to see her represent NSW and Australia in paddling.
“The success of our female athletes follows on from the recent announcement by the NSW Government to develop a Women in Sport strategy that supports increased participation amongst females, and helps to advance the rising stars of professional sports women.”
The Awards saw cyclist Amanda Reid named Athlete of the Year with a Disability, and powerlifter Bethany Parker named joint Young Athlete of the Year along with rising tennis star Alexei Popyrin.
Sydney FC’s record-breaking 2016-17 A-League season, where they set a record for most competition points in a season (66 points) and most wins in a season (20 wins) was recognised when named Team of the Year.
Netball NSW and AFL NSW/ACT were named joint winners of the Organisation of the Year, while Hockey NSW’s David Thompson was named Administrator of the Year.
The ceremony also saw Olympic swimming great Ian Thorpe elevated to Legend status while Warren Birmingham (hockey), Michael Clarke (cricket), Rochelle Gilmour (cycling), Matthew Mitcham (diving) and Matthew Nielsen (basketball) were all inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions.
Sport NSW Chairperson, Joseph La Posta, congratulated the inductees, winners and nominees saying NSW continues to produce Australia’s premier athletes, officials and administrators.
La Posta added “the quality of the award finalists is making it very difficult for the judges, as we have seen with two categories having joint winners.
“Sport continues to play an integral role within our communities and we are fortunate to have such an outstanding array of athletes, officials and administrators leading the way for others to follow in the years to come.”
The Award winners are:
• Athlete of the Year - Jessica Fox, paddling
• Athlete of the Year with a Disability - Amanda Reid, cycling
• Young Athlete of the Year - Bethany Parker & Alexei Popyrin, powerlifting and tennis
• Young Athlete of the Year with a Disability - Gregory Luff, wheelchair track & road
• Masters Athlete of the Year - Tony Goodwin, swimming
• Team of the Year - Sydney FC, football
• Team of the Year with a Disability - Under 19 Australian women’s goalball team
• Administrator of the Year - David Thompson, Hockey NSW
• Coach of the Year - Glenn Hall, surfing
• Event of the Year 2017 - Australian Badminton Open
• Local Council of the Year - Lake Macquarie Council
• Official of the Year - Petr Lubomir, judo
• Organisation of the Year Netball NSW & AFL NSW/ACT
Images: Jessica Fox (top) and Ian Thorpe with his Legend status award (middle). Hall of Champion inductees (from left) Matthew Nielsen, Warren Birmingham, Matthew Mitcham and Rochelle Gilmour are shown below.
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