SASI'S high-flying champions celebrate a sporting year to remember

A year of sporting excellence was recognised last Friday night at the South Australian Sports Institute awards at the South Australian Museum

THE best of sporting achievements were celebrated last Friday night when the South Australian Sports Institute said well done to its athletes, coaches and support staff.

Individual awards for junior and senior female and male athletes of the year, athlete with a disability, coach of the year, Amy Gillett-Safe Memorial Award and program athletes of the year were presented at the South Australian Museum.

In the men's category champion Kyle Chalmers again stood tall to be named senior men's athlete of the year.

Chalmers, a household name in swimming throughout the world, starred at the FINA World Championships this year. He won a gold medal in the 4x 200m freestyle, silver in the 100m free, silver in the 4x 100m mixed freestyle and bronze in the 4x 100m freestyle.

Matt Goble (canoeing), Alexander Porter (cycling) and Matthew Carter (diving) were the finalists.

Madison Wilson made it a swimming double when she won the women's senior category, in an outstanding season of competition.

Wilson also had a top competition at this year's FINA World Championships with a gold medal in the 4 x 100m freestyle, silver in the 4 x 100m medley and silver in the 4 x 100m mixed freestyle.

Olympia Aldersey (rowing) and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar (beach volleyball), Alexandra Manly (cycling) and Annette Edmondson (cycling) were the finalists.

A strong line up in the men's junior category saw Matthew Carter earn the judges' nod, for the second year in a row.

Carter excelled in diving, winning a gold medal at the 2019 world championships in the 3m Mixed Synchronised and two gold medals at the 2019  Australian Open Diving Championships.

Carlos Carisimo (cycling) and Angus Dawson (rowing) had excellent years to make the finalists.

Ella Sibley, on the back of her gold medal in the scratch race at this years' junior world championship and a silver at the same meeting in the keirin, won the junior female athlete of the year award.

Finalists were Emily White (swimming) and Alex Haydon (squash).

Paige Greco took out the Athlete of the Year with a Disability award with an amazing run of success this year.

Among her gold-medal hauls in cycling included in the Individual Pursuit (world record) at the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships, gold at the same event (world record) in the C3 500m Time Trial and four other gold medals in various rounds of World Cups in Italy and Belgium.

Finalists in the para category included Sam Von Einem (Para table tennis), Jesse Aungles (Para swimming), Michael Roeger (marathon athlete), Jed Altschwager (Para rowing), Will Smith (Para rowing) and Darren Hicks (Para cycling).

The Amy Gillett Safe Memorial Award, presented annually at the SASI night, recognises the spirit and sporting qualities of Amy who was an Australian cyclist and rower.

Amy was killed while training for cycling in Germany in 2005.

Ruth Hock was rewarded for her prowess and commitment to taekwondo to take out the prestigious award.

Ruth, who has been competing in taekwondo for 26 years and coaching for 17 years, retired after the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to a ruptured Achilles tendon injury, then returned to international competition in 2016.

She competed with international success in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In 2018 she sustained a broken hand/finger Injury at a national team training camp but still competed in multiple tournaments in Europe with her broken hand taped up.

During 2019 Ruth had three broken and dislocated fingers. She also suffered compound fractures which have needed multiple surgeries and pins which resulted in her missing world championships selection this year. Ruth is currently campaigning towards Tokyo 2020.

Loz Shaw's outstanding work with Para-cycling athletes was rewarded when he took out the Coach of the Year award.

During Loz’s time at SASI he has identified, developed and coached a number of para cyclists who have gone on to represent Australia both on the track and on the road.

In past 12 months Loz has worked with current road and track world champions Paige Greco and Darren Hicks. Loz shows all the characteristics of a master coach. Coaching para athletes presents challenges that need coaching flexibility and on the spot adaptation of plans while still hitting the desired targets.

Program athletes of the year also were presented.

SASI Award winners:

Female Athlete of the Year: Madison Wilson

Male Athlete of the Year: Kyle Chalmers

Junior Female Athlete of the Year: Ella Sibley

Junior Male Athlete of the Year: Matthew Carter

Athlete of the Year with a Disability: Paige Greco

Coach of the Year: Loz Shaw

Amy Gillett-Safe Memorial Award: Ruth Hock

Program Athletes of the Year

Matt Goble - Canoe Sprint

Ella Sibley – Cycling

Matthew Carter – Diving

Michaela Spano - Hockey

Maisie Nankivell - Netball

Angus Dawson – Rowing

Madison Wilson – Swimming

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