February 21 - 27, 2016: Issue 252

 Sports NSW Awards Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch Sports Team of the Year - Callum Mills Young Athlete of the Year

 Daniel Fitzgibbon at the Sport NSW 2015 NSW Sports awards with Ms Eleri Morgan-Thomas, Acting Deputy Secretary Program and Service Design, Family & Community Services. Photo by narrativepost.com.au

Paralympic and World Champions Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch were crowned the NSW Sports Team of the Year with Disability Award at the NSW Sports Awards Night held on Thursday, February 18th. Dan and Liesel took home the Award amongst a variety of categories honoured at the NSW Sports Awards dinner at Curzon Hall, Marsfield. The Nacra 17 crew of Lisa Darmanin and Jason Waterhouse were finalists for the Team of the Year Award, which went to the NSW Rugby 7’s Team.

Trent Herring (Newport Surf Life Saving Club), the 2015 NSW IRB Championships event and the Newport Surf Life Saving Club Male Taplin Team were also finalists nominated for the Sport NSW Awards. Last year fellow clubmate Georgia Miller took out the Young Athlete of the Year category. This year Callum Mills, won the Young Athlete of the Year Award.

In November 2015 Callum stamped his name in the history books as the first player to attract a bid on under the AFL's new bidding system. He had been training as part of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy and now the Midfielder is thrilled to officially become a Sydney Swan.

In 2014 Callum excelled for New South Wales-ACT at the under-18 championships and was rewarded with selection in the All Australian team. Grandfather Ray Mills was a former League player in Perth and for Western Australia in the 1960s. Certainly be one to keep an eye on this year.

Callum became the highest AFL Draft pick to ever come from Sydney in history, when he was drafted at number three by the Sydney Swans. He is extremely active in mentoring and supporting junior AFL. Callum by nature is very inclusive, he supports athletes from all walks of life and is interested in women’s football.

The NSW Sports Awards is an all-embracing event that acknowledges the variety of sporting activity and achievement across the state every year. A total of 15 awards were presented recognising coaches, administrators, volunteers, masters and young athletes and athletes and teams with a disability.

Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch were recognised for their unbeaten run since the 2012 London Paralympic Games, which continued over 2015. Since winning Gold at the London 2012 Paralympic games the pair has been on top of the podium at every regatta they have competed at. They produced a dominating performance at the end of 2014 to win the Sailing World Cup in Melbourne, followed by another win at the World Cup in Miami in 2015. Daniel and Liesl won Gold at the Delta Lloyd regatta held in the Netherlands and they both received Sailor of the Year with a Disability at the Yachting Australia Awards in November 2015.

Most recently the pair defended their World Champion title at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships and wrapped up the year with Sailing World Cup Gold in Melbourne in December.

“The great thing about sport is the way people with disabilities can get involved, in sport and in life. The Minister was earlier speaking about integration and sport can provide that. We’re out having a go, on the water we’re just sailors, that’s why sport is great”, Daniel said on receiving the award.

This Year World Cup winning netballer, Kim Green, has beaten a star-studded field, including Australian cricket captain Steve Smith, AFL’s Adam Goodes, tennis champion Sam Stosur, canoeist Jess Fox and equestrian Shane Rose, to claim the top honour at the NSW Sports Awards announced Thursday, 18 February 2016.

Green was crowned 2015 NSW Athlete of the Year for her role in the Australian Diamonds’ gold medal win in the 2015 Netball World Cup  at Sydney Olympic Park, which also won Event of the Year at the 21st annual Sport NSW awards night at the prestigious Curzon Hall, Marsfield.

A total of 15 awards were presented in an inspiring evening which also recognised coaches, administrators, volunteers, masters and young athletes and athletes and teams with a disability.

Green was unable to attend the event because, although she retired from international netball after the World Cup in August 2015, she announced this week that she would continue to play in the national competition and is currently in New Zealand, preparing for the NSW Swifts season. 

“Netball NSW and the NSW Swifts are my family away from home, they have given me so many opportunities,” said Kim Green when thanking her state sporting organisation and team, in her video message to the audience.

“I would like to thank Sport NSW for this Award, it’s just an absolute honour, I was shocked when I got the phone call,” said Kim.

Green’s international retirement came after a career of successful captaincy, 109 ANZ Championship appearances and 74 appearances for Australia that include two Netball World Cup Gold Medals, two Commonwealth Games Gold and Silver Medals. She is one of Australia’s top 10 most capped players of all time.

“I would just like to thank all the Athletes and fellow finalists that were amongst this group, to be named amongst you guys, I’m truly honoured, congratulations on your year as well,” said Green.

This year’s event was a great success, receiving more nominations for outstanding sport achievements throughout New South Wales than ever before, surpassing the record set in 2015.

The NSW Lendlease Breakers won  the National Professional League - Team of the Year Award for their outstanding 2015 performance after winning both the Women’s National Cricket League and Women’s T20.  

Maddison Elliott OAM was awarded the Athlete of the Year with a Disability title after having a stellar 2015, continuing her run from last year when she was crowned the Young Athlete of the Year with a Disability for 2014.

She dominated the swimming world with her incredible performance at the IPC championships in Glasglow, Scotland, taking home four gold medals and setting the World Record and Oceania Record in the women’s 100m freestyle.

Australian Wallabies Head Coach, Michael Cheika, and Diving Australia’s Head Coach, Chava Sobrino, were among the top award winners, with the pair sharing the category of Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Cricket NSW was once more victorious when they claimed the Organisation of the Year Award against some fierce competitor, including Netball NSW, Equestrian NSW, Tennis NSW, Rowing NSW and Women’s Bowls NSW.

The Organisation of the Year also won the Inclusion/Diversity Award for their instrumental work in developing programs to promote an inclusive environment and create cricket as a sport for all.

This year, Sport NSW introduced the Inclusion/Diversity Award for organisations who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the principles of inclusion and diversity in their sport or the sport industry as a whole. It is a celebration of the work being done towards building a holistic and all-inclusive sporting community across the board.

Sport NSW CEO Cheryl Battaerd said that for 21 years, the NSW Sports Awards has recognised leading athletes, teams, coaches, administrators, volunteers and organisations in NSW and celebrated their outstanding achievements in high performance and community sport levels.

“This awards program is an integral event in the state’s sporting calendar, providing an opportunity for the New South Wales community to unite, celebrate and acknowledge those whose contribution is the lifeblood of our state’s sporting community,” she said.

The Award winners are:

AWARD                                                                        NAME/SPORT                                            RESIDES

Athlete of the Year                                                         Kimberlee Green (netball)                            Miranda

Team of the Year (National Professional League NSW Lendlease Breakers (cricket)            Moore Park

Coach of the Year Joint winners:                                Michael Cheika (rugby union)                         Sydney

                                                                                       Chava Sobrino (diving)                                    Northmead

Young Athlete of the Year                                        Callum Mills (Australian Football)                    Terrey Hills

Official of the Year                                                        Glenn Toland  (Tennis)                                    Engadine

Organisation of the Year                                        Cricket NSW                                                    Moore Park

Event of the Year                                                        Netball World Cup Sydney 2015                    Sydney Olympic Park

Masters Athlete of the Year                                        Clary Munns (masters swimming)            Seven Hills

Athlete of the Year with a Disability                        Maddison Elliott OAM                                    Gillieston Heights (Maitland)

Young Athlete of the Year with a Disability                Jessica Cronje (wheelchair basketball)     Menangle

Team of the Year                                                        NSW Rugby 7s Team (rugby union)             Eastwood

Team of the Year with a Disability                        Daniel Fitzgibbon OAM/Liesl Tesch AM         Mona Vale / Woy Woy 

Inclusion/Diversity Award                                        Cricket NSW                                                     Moore Park

Administrator of the Year                                        Gillian Brooker (Diving NSW)                     Tenambit

Volunteer Director of the Year                                Trudy Vonhoff (Tennis NSW)                     Spit Junction

NSW Sports Federation Inc. operates under the name of Sport NSW and is the active voice and peak body for sport in NSW. Sport NSW has been operating since 1991 with a membership representing over 15,000 community sport clubs and associations and 2.5 million participants, volunteers and workers in NSW sporting organisations.

In 2015/2016 NSW Family & Community Services (FACS) were given Sport NSW a grant to employ an Inclusion Officer who is working with sporting organisations helping them to build capability and an environment so more people with a disability can participate in sport.

In recognition of FACS’ support Sport NSW asked if they could be a sponsor of the Team of the Year with a Disability which Daniel Fitzgibbon & Liesl Tesch AM won.

The lady in the photo presenting the award to Pittwater's Dan Fiztgibbon is Ms Eleri Morgan-Thomas, Acting Deputy Secretary Program and Service Design, Family & Community Services.

Callum Mills with Matt Miller (left) -CEO of the Office of Sport in Premier and Cabinet, NSW Government and The Hon. John Ajaka MLC, Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Aging and Minister for Multiculturalism. Photo by narrativepost.com.au