Athlete of the Year

WAIS Athlete of the Year Sam Welsford receives his proze from WA Hall of Champion Tully Bevilaqua 

Cyclist Sam Welsford won the 2016 WAIS Athlete of the Year following an impressive debut season as a senior member of the Australian track cycling team.


Welsford received the Award at the 2016 WAIS Annual Dinner and became the first WAIS scholarship athlete to graduate from Junior Athlete of the Year (2014) to the open category WAIS Athlete of the Year.


The 20 year-old cyclist was also the youngest winner of the Institute’s top honour since Lauren Mitchell in 2011 – adding his name to the greats of WAIS cycling, such as Ryan Bayley, Peter Dawson, Cameron Meyer and Melissa Hoskins.



Welsford’s effort in winning a Track World Championship title in London in March of 2016, as a member of the Australian Team Pursuit squad was supported by a debut Olympic campaign – where he and the Australians claimed silver in the same discipline in Rio, setting the second fastest time in history behind the victorious Great Britain team.


He won the award, ahead of a stellar field of talent that also included finalists; Colin Harrison and Russell Boaden (Sailing), who won gold in the three person sonar class at the 2016 Paralympic Games, swimmer Tamsin Cook – who at 17 years of age – won Olympic silver in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay and Madison de Rozario who in late 2015 won a maiden IPC Athletics World Championship – in the T53 800m before winning dual silver at the Rio Paralympic Games.


Cook’s impressive campaign saw her retain her title as the WAIS Junior Athlete of the Year, claiming the trophy ahead of Youth World Champion sailors; Annabelle Davies and Hayley Clark (29er) and Zoe Thomson (laser radial) along with cycling talent Jade Haines.



Michael Palfery – who heads up the Challenge Podium Performance Centre at HBF Stadium and trains Cook, was named WAIS Coach of the Year, joining his young star in scooping the award for the second year in succession.


Palfery accepted the award ahead of an outstanding list of nominees that included; Cycling coach Clay Worthington, Netball lead Michelle Wilkins and Gymnastics coaches Joshua Fabian and Regan Molyneaux.


Men’s Water Polo coach Paul Oberman took to stage to accept the WAIS Program of the Year Award with Oberman and his program staff assisting three athletes onto the Australian Olympic Team as well as national club champions at both senior and junior level. WAIS Netball, Cycling and the Challenge Podium Performance Centre (Swimming) all joined Men’s Water Polo as nominees for the award.


Paralympian Brant Garvey collected the Personal Excellence Award for his efforts in setting up and flourishing his own personal branding business, titled noXcuses. The triathlete was awarded the honour ahead of; Jaime Roberts (Canoeing), Georgia Wilson (Hockey), Glencora McGhie (Water Polo), Aaron Younger (Water Polo) and Tamsin Cook (Swimming).


WAIS Athlete of the Year – Sam Welsford (Cycling)

WAIS Junior Athlete of the Year – Tamsin Cook (Swimming)

WAIS Coach of the Year – Michael Palfery (Swimming)

WAIS Program of the Year – Men’s Water Polo

WAIS Personal Excellence Award – Brant Garvey (Para-Triathlon)

Previous winners:

2014/15 - Caitlin Bassett (Netball), Melissa Hoskins (Cycling)

2013/14 - Kim Mickle (Athletics)
2012/13 - Kim Mickle (Athletics)
2011/12 - Cameron Meyer (Cycling)
2010/11 - Lauren Mitchell (Gymnastics)
2009/10 - Cameron Meyer (Cycling)
2008/09 - Steve Hooker (Athletics)
2007/08 - Steve Hooker (Athletics), Elise Rechichi (Sailing), Tessa Parkinson (Sailing)
2006/07 - Eamon Sullivan (Swimming)
2005/06 - Paul Burgess (Athletics)
2004/05 - Peter Robertson (Tri-Athlon)
2003/04 - Ryan Bayley (Cycling)
2002/03 - Peter Dawson (Cycling)
2001/02 - Peter Dawson (Cycling)
2000/01 - Dmitri Markov (Athletics)
1999/00 - Belinda Stowell (Sailing)
1998/99 - Stuart Reside (Rowing)
1997/98 - Rechelle Hawkes (Hockey)
1996/97 - Darryn Hill (Cycling)
1995/96 - Darryn Hill (Cycling)
1994/95 - Rechelle Hawkes (Hockey)
1993/94 - Richard Nizielski (Ice Speed Skating)
1992/93 - Ramon Andersson (Canoeing)
1991/92 - Sharon Buchanan (Hockey)
1990/91 - Robyn Lambourne (Squash)
1989/90 - Ian Brown (Swimming)
1988/89 - Craig Davies (Hockey)
1987/88 - Craig Parry (Golf)
1986/87 - Christine Stanton (Athletics)
1985/86 - Robert Waller (Cycling)
1984/85 - Jenny Byrne (Tennis)