Award winners revealed
The hard yakka of sporting stars, clubs, teams and volunteers was celebrated last Thursday night at the City of Rockingham’s 19th annual Sports Star Awards.
With more than 130 guests at the Gary Holland Community Centre, including the 50 finalists from all walks of life, the event acknowledged outstanding achievements across a range of sports.
Marathon paddler Brett McDonald, who along with his threeman team Unbrok3n won the 2015 Avon Descent, was awarded the John Brown Memorial Award.
The award was named after the former Telegraph editor, acknowledging his love of sports reporting and showcasing local talent.
McDonald was clearly surprised to win the trophy and thanked his wife for enabling him to spend so much time training.
“It’s actually really nice to get an award tonight because we upset the organisers (of the Avon Descent) by winning because it was the first time a K3 had won in the race’s 42-year history,” he said.
“They were caught short at the presentations and didn’t have anything for us — not even a towel.”
McDonald said he was a relative latecomer to the team after one of the paddlers was injured.
“I was the ring-in, I was brought in two months before the race and I felt like a bit of a fraud,” he said.
“The guy in the middle of the boat — basically I’m just an engine — the guy at the front steers and navigates, the guy at the back helps to get the background and I just sit there and keep paddling.
“I was the older of the three so they were always giving me a hard time because I was whinging about how sore I was.” Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels congratulated the winners on their commitment.
“Sport and recreation means a great deal to many people and with such limited leisure time these days, the contribution of team players, individuals, clubs and teams is so important to the fabric of our community, providing a healthy way to connect, strengthen ties and compete with others,” he said.
“In almost 20 years of the sports awards it can be said we have a very high standard of athletes in our area, with State, national and international competitors starting their sporting careers in Rocking- ham over the years. “This year again there was about 50 nominations from a well-rounded cross section of nominees with international, national, State and local achievements.
“Without the significant support of their clubs and the time commitment of the volunteers that run them, these athletes would not be able to participate and achieve as much as they have.
“I would like to thank all the club members and volunteers who offer up their time knowledge and expertise to keep things running.”
Cr Sammels said the awards attracted significant support from the city’s businesses and thanked the ongoing backing of sponsors.
“I would like to acknowledge this year’s sponsors, which contributed to a prize pool worth $10,000 — the Sound Telegraph, Baldivis Health and Fitness, the Athlete’s Foot, Rockingham Shopping Centre, Aqua Jetty and F45 Training,” he said.
Telegraph sales manager John Whittaker with Brett McDonald, winner of the John Brown Memorial Award.
Sami Whitcomb from the Rockingham Flames women’s basketball team accpeted the award for Team of the Year from Brenda Chapman from F45 Training.
John Carr from the Hillman Hornets Cricket Club was presented with Club of the Year by Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels.
Volunteer of the Year Deb Bird with Lehane Vallejo from Aqua Jetty.
Junior Sportsperson Matthew Ramsden.
Sportsperson with Disability Award winner Justin Bettes.