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 bronze 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
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)