Nominees for the 2018 WAIS Athlete of the Year - Revealed!!!

WAIS | Published: Thu 1 November 2018

The Western Australian Institute of Sport is pleased to reveal the nomination list for the 2018 WAIS Athlete of the Year Award with nine athletes in contention for the prize.


Two previous winners are up for the title again with three time award recipient Cameron Meyer and 2016 champion Sam Welsford both making the cut once more.


The nomination list covers eight sports, with five athletes having represented Australia at April’s Commonwealth Games. Outside of this, WA medallists from top level international competition in non-Commonwealth sports have also attracted significant attention with David Watts, Shaun Norris, Aaron Younger and Matthew Wearn all represented following excellent campaigns for their respective national teams.


The full list on nine nominees is available below.



Courtney Bruce – Netball


A debut appearance at the Commonwealth Games and star role for the West Coast Fever as their newly minted captain ensured that Courtney Bruce’s name was put forward. The Diamonds collected a silver medal on the Gold Coast, whilst in the Super Netball season, the Fever enjoyed a breakthrough year hosting the Grand Final in Perth, where they fell short against the Sunshine Coast Lightening. Bruce however, was influential across both teams and has established herself as an elite defender both domestically and in the international form.



David Watts – Rowing


A silver medal at the Rowing World Championships in Bulgaria was a fitting reward for David Watts and the Australian men’s quad scull crew. Having been outside the medals at World Cup level, the Aussie quad turned it on when it mattered most, with a superb row – stroked by Watts as the crew claimed second place and put themselves back in the frame for ultimate success at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.



Brianna Throssell – Swimming


Brianna Throssell was the only Western Australian to compete at both the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships in 2018 as she maintained form and fitness over a long competition season. Throssell won an individual bronze medal in the 100m fly on the Gold Coast and also claimed gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay as the Australian women broke the Commonwealth Games record.



Aran Zalewski – Hockey


WA sent five hockey athletes to the Commonwealth Games in April, including 2014 champion Aran Zalewski. The Kookaburras retained their title with a win over New Zealand in the final and following the retirement of Mark Knowles after the win, Zalewski was named a co-captain of the Kookaburras outfit. He led them to glory at July’s Champions Trophy in the Netherlands where he was also named tournament MVP. He’ll be in action again soon as the Kookaburras seek to defend their world crown at the World Cup in India.



Sam Welsford – Cycling


Another year, another outstanding campaign from arguably Australia’s best track rider Sam Welsford. In 2018, Welsford starred at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane winning two gold medals for Australia at the Commonwealth Games. He led the Australian Team Pursuit quartet to victory in a world record time on the first night of track action and he won a remarkable Scratch Race title when with two-laps to go, he was all but half a lap behind the leader. Welsford is a previous winner of the WAIS title, having taking the crown after his world champs and Olympic efforts in 2016.



Shaun Norris – Wheelchair Basketball


After a disappointing result for the Australian Rollers at the 2016 Paralympic Games, the men’s team had their first opportunity to return to the global stage at this year’s World Championships in Germany. Norris has taken on captaincy of the team following the retirement of stalwart Brad Ness and he led from the front, helping Australia to a bronze medal success with victory over Iran in the third place playoff. Norris was consistently among Australia’s best as they returned to the international podium. If Australia is to medal in Tokyo – it is likely that Shuan Norris will be at the forefront.



Aaron Younger – Water Polo


As a dual Olympian, and as the first Australian to win water polo’s prestigious club-based European Champions League, Aaron Younger is no stranger to high achievement in the game. But in 2018 he captained Australia to new history as the Sharks won a silver medal at the World Cup in Germany, representing Australia’s best ever result at a men’s major international tournament. Younger starred for the Aussies and was justifiably crowned Player of the Tournament at the culmination of 2018’s peak water polo event.



Matthew Wearn – Sailing


Matthew Wearn enjoyed a career-best season in 2018 that saw him win a silver medal in the Laser at the World Sailing Championships in Denmark whilst also qualifying Australia’s boat for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Wearn’s achievements for the year also saw him win the European Laser Championship and finish second at the Tokyo Test Event on the waters of Enoshima. He recently won the Male Sailor of the Year at Sailing Australia’s peak awards, highlighting just how highly regarded the 23 year-old is within the sport both nationally and internationally.



Cameron Meyer – Cycling


Cameron Meyer won titles on the track and road in 2018, with his efforts in claiming a fifth Points Race gold medal at the Track World Championships in the Netherlands last March chief among his accolades. Meyer now stands as a nine-time career track world champion and he added a bronze medal in the Olympic class Madison event riding with teammate Callum Scotson. At the Commonwealth Games in April, Meyer won the individual time-trial gold medal off limited preparation demonstrating his versatility and adaptability in the process.


The winner of the 2018 WAIS Athlete of the Year title will be announced at the WAIS Awards on Thursday, November 15 at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Previous winners:

2016/17 - Cameron Meyer (Cycling)

2015/16 - Sam Welsford (Cycling)

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)