Wheel Champions

Wheelchair Sports WA hosted their annual Sports Star of the year awards at the Novotel Langley Hotel last week and thanks to the great work that the staff at Herb Graham Recreation Centre are doing there were the largest number of finalists for many years.

It was also great to see a table taken by the telephone sales team from Osborne Park who in the past year have raised over $1million for Wheelchair Sports WA.

Winner of the 2009 Volunteer of the Year was Peter ‘Yogi’ Houlis for his incredible dedication to the sport of wheelchair rugby and Wheelchair Sports WA in general.

Winner of the Rookie of the Year for 2009 was Adam Deans. This was Adam’s first full year of involvement with Wheelchair Sports WA in the sport of wheelchair basketball. A former elite junior baseball pitcher, within months of joining the Wheelcats, Adam was selected to take part in the World Club Championships in Japan in November 2008. He was also an integral part of the Wheelcats winning their fourth national title in succession.

As you would expect, when a team is so successful they are bound to attract votes from the panel of Judges and it was no surprise when Ben Ettridge won the Coach of Year award and Justin Eveson won the main award of the night the title of 2009 Wheelchair Sports WA Sports Star of the Year.

The Wheelcats also won the team of the year award for their unprecedented fourth consecutive wheelchair basketball title.

Encouraging was the array of young talent winning awards on the night showing that the future for athletes with a disability is still very promising in Western Australia. Just pipped for the team award was the Youth Paralympic games team which returned to WA with 61 medals.

Swimmer Madeleine Scott won the 2009 Junior Sports star of the year award. Aged just 16 years old, Madeleine started her phenomenal year at the WA State Swimming Championships where she won three Gold medals in the 50m Butterfly, 100 Breaststroke and 100m Freestyle. Next up were the National Open Swimming Championships, where she won Silver in 50m Butterfly and Bronze in the 50m Breaststroke and 100m Breaststroke in Open Multi-Disability competition.

At the Arafura Games in Darwin in May, she won Gold in the 50m Fly, 100m Fly, 200IM & 50m Breaststroke and Silver in 100m Breaststroke in Open Multi-Disability competition, setting one Australian Record in the process.

Then she competed at the Australian Short Course Championships in Hobart, where she again struck Gold in 50m Breaststroke and Silver in 100m Breaststroke in Open Multi-Disability competition and setting four Australian Records. She continued her winning ways when she won four Gold and two Silver medals at the Australian Paralympic Youth Games in Melbourne in October.

She is the current senior record holder for the 50m Breaststroke and 50m Butterfly and is now ranked in the top 10 in the World for 100m Breaststroke and 50m Butterfly, and definitely a star of the future.

Other stars of the future to pick up awards were Liam Smith for Swimming, Jake Kavanagh for Field sports, and Jim Cairns for cycling.

Wheel Champions

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