Victorian Institute of Sport

Event Preview | Award of Excellence 2018

Monday, 26 November 2018

There are just a few days to go until the VIS’ night of nights - the 2018 Victorian Institute of Sport Award of Excellence evening - where we celebrate the outstanding sporting achievements of our VIS athletes.

VIS alumnus and one of Australia’s all-time netball greats, Sharelle McMahon, will host on the event to be held at Carousel in Albert Park.

The awards to be presented include the coveted Award of Excellence, as well as the Para Athlete Award, 2XU Rising Star Award, the Sarah Tait Spirit Award, the William Angliss Personal Excellence Award and the very special Frank Pyke Achievement Award.

Award of Excellence:

The three finalists for the Award of Excellence include a youthful mix of Olympic and Paralympic talent: Scotty James (Snowboard), Kelland O’Brien (Cycling) and Isis Holt (Para-Athletics).

2017 Award of Excellence nominee Scotty James has been nominated once again following his standout performance at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games where he won the bronze medal in the best halfpipe final the Olympics has seen.

Talented teenage cyclist Kelland O’Brien has also been nominated. At 19-years of age and only just old enough to represent Australia at senior international level, O'Brien combined with Alex Porter, Sam Welsford and Leigh Howard to smash the Men's Team Pursuit World Record on their way to Commonwealth Games victory at the Anna Meares Velodrome on the Gold Coast in April.

Paralympic sprint sensation Isis Holt is also nominated for the Institute’s top award. “Lightning Bolt Holt” lived up to her nickname by adding Commonwealth Games gold to her expanding resume of sprint titles on the Gold Coast. Holt, who won double gold at the 2017 World Championships, never looked in doubt when she took the win in the Women’s 100m T35, exploding out of the blocks before speeding clear of the field to cross the line in 13.58 sec - cementing herself as the giant of para-athletics.

2XU Rising Star Award:

O’ Brien and Holt are also finalists for the 2XU Rising Star Award, where they will be up against vision impaired middle-distance runner Jaryd Clifford and dual Junior World Champion shooter Nathan Argiro.

Para Athlete Award

The finalists for the ‘Para Athlete Award’ include Isis Holt and also Alistair Donohoe (Para-Cycling)and Melissa Tapper (Para-Table tennis). Para-Cyclist Donohoe was crowned World Champion for the fourth time in his career at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Italy in August, while Tapper, who created history as the first Australian to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games at Rio 2016, won Australia’s first table tennis Commonwealth Games gold medal on the Gold Coast in the Women’s Singles TT6-10.

William Angliss Personal Excellence Award:

Tapper is also nominated for the ‘William Angliss Personal Excellence Award’ – which recognises athletes in their sporting, academic and personal achievements - and will be up against Carla Krizanic (Lawn Bowls) and Elena Galiabovitch (Shooting).

Krizanic claimed Gold Coast gold with Australia's Women's Fours lawn bowls team, the first Commonwealth gold by any Australian team or individual lawn bowler since the Melbourne Games in 2006. Shooter Galiabovitch claimed bronze in the 10m Air Pistol on the Gold Coast - the Melbourne-based doctor showed nerves of steel to snare Australia’s first shooting medal at the Belmont complex in Brisbane, scoring 214.9 points in her first international final.

Sarah Tait Spirit Award, presented by Gatorade:

Rowie Webster (Water Polo), Hayley Padget (Hockey) and Fiona Albert (Rowing) are all finalists for the ‘Sarah Tait Spirit Award’, presented by Gatorade. This Award, which was renamed in 2016 in honour of the late Olympic rower, recognises the athlete who most encompasses the spirit of the VIS.

Rowie Webster, won Olympic bronze in 2012, stared retirement in the face in 2017/18 after sustaining an unusual injury for water polo. She endured a long layoff and mentally challenging rehab process, and has kept her dream of going to a third Olympics alive.

Fiona Albert sustained a severe back injury in 2017 which required surgery. Despite this and other setbacks, the successful Lawyer has shown courage, commitment and persistence to regain selection on the Australian Rowing Team.

Throughout Hayley Padget’s sporting journey, she has constantly been challenged with setbacks (non-selections and injury) and yet through it all, never lost sight of wanting to play for the Hockeyroos and represent her country – which she finally achieved in August 2018.

Frank Pyke Achievement Award:

The Frank Pyke Achievement Award, named in honour of the inaugural Executive Director of the VIS, will be presented to an athlete who had a successful sporting career as well as making a significant contribution to the VIS and their sport, and most importantly been successful in their career path. This Award reflects the VIS motto, “Success in Sport and Life” over the span of the athlete’s career.

Coach Awards

And finally, Coach Awards will also be presented to an athlete in each Tier 1 sport who is most deserving within this calendar year.

How to follow?

The 2018 VIS Award of Excellence Dinner will be held on Wednesday 28 November at Carousel, Albert Park from 6:30pm. Follow the action via the VIS social media accounts and use the hashtag #AOE2018.


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