Kurt Fearnley honoured at AIS awards, Craig Lowndes named ABC Sports Personality of the Year
Kurt Fearnley’s marathon victory at the Commonwealth Games was voted Best Sporting Moment. (Reuters: David Gray)
Kurt Fearnley’s marathon gold and the inclusion of para-sports at the 2018 Commonwealth Games has won the Best Sporting Moment of the Year at the AIS Sports Performance Awards in Sydney.
This year’s Commonwealth Games featured prominently, with six of the nine awards relating to the event.
Fearnley accepted the award on behalf of Australia’s para-athletes, with his marathon victory being one of the key moments of the Games on the Gold Coast.
The award caps a stellar year for Fearnley, who became the first para-athlete to win The Don award and was recently announced as the 2019 New South Wales Australian of the Year.
The Australian public appeared keen to honour retiring athletes this year, with Supercars driver Craig Lowndes voted ABC Sports Personality of the Year from 15 finalists.
Craig Lowndes (front right) won the Bathurst 1000 for the seventh time in his career. (AAP: Brendan Esposito)
Lowndes, 44, won three Supercars titles in his storied career and secured a fairytale Bathurst 1000 victory in August, his seventh victory on the Mount Panorama course in what was his final outing as a lead driver.
Almost 20,000 people voted in the online poll to determine the winners of the two publicly chosen awards.
AIS awards winners
|ABC Sports Personality of the Year||Craig Lowndes||Motorsport|
|Best Sporting Moment||Kurt Fearnley and Para-sport integration at Commonwealth Games||Paralympic Sport|
|Sport Australia Award||Celia Sullohern, Madeline Hills and Eloise Wellings||Athletics|
|Female Athlete of the Year||Jessica Fox||Canoe Slalom|
|Male Athlete of the Year||Rohan Dennis||Cycling|
|Emerging Athlete of the Year||Luke Plapp||Cycling|
|Para-performance of the Year||Simon Patmore||Winter Paralympics|
|Coach of the Year||Myriam Fox||Canoe Slalom|
|Team of the Year||Australian Kookaburras||Hockey|
|High Performance Program of the Year||Cycling Australia||Cycling|
|Award for Leadership||Craig Phillips||Commonwealth Games|
The evening was also a successful one for mother and daughter team Jess and Myriam Fox, who won Female Athlete and Coach of the Year respectively.
Jess Fox, 24, became the most successful female slalom paddler of all time by winning two gold medals at the canoe slalom world championships, leading to her being named New South Wales Sportsperson of the Year last month.
Her mother, Myriam, was awarded Coach of the Year for her role in guiding the women’s canoe slalom team to a record 10 golds, one silver and a bronze medal across senior and under-23 competitions in 2018.
Events from the Commonwealth Games played a big role in the awards ceremony, with the inaugural Sport Australia Award being awarded to three athletes that encapsulated the spirit of the competition.
Long-distance runners Celia Sullohern, Madeline Hills and Eloise Wellings were honoured with the new award recognising their incredible act of sportsmanship when they waited at the finish line at the end of the 10,000m for the last-placed athlete, Lineo Chaka from Lesotho, to finish.
Australian cycling picked up three awards, with Rohan Dennis named Male Athlete of the Year for his incredible world championship time-trial victory.
Rohan Dennis was one of three cycling winners for his efforts at the Time Trial World Championships. (AP: Kerstin Joensson)
Track and road prodigy Luke Plapp named Emerging Athlete of the Year and Cycling Australia was named as High Performance Program of the Year — in part due to the 10 gold medals the Australians picked up at the Anna Meares Velodrome at the Commonwealth Games.
Simon Patmore, the first Australian man to win a medal at a Summer and Winter Paralympics, collected the Para-performance of the Year award.
Patmore won gold in the men’s snowboard cross event in PyeongChang, as well as a bronze in the banked slalom to go with his 200 metres gold from London 2012.
The men’s hockey team the Kookaburras were awarded Team of the Year after winning Commonwealth Games gold and the Champions Trophy.
Craig Phillips, Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive, was given the Award for Leadership for his role in making the Gold Coast sports bonanza a success.