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Matildas and Kerr Australia’s fan favourites at AIS awards

Matildas captain Lisa de Vanna
Matildas captain Lisa de Vanna at the ASPAs

12 Dec 2017


Australia’s women’s football team the Matildas and superstar striker Sam Kerr were the big winners with fans at the AIS Sport Performance Awards in Sydney tonight.

Kerr was awarded ABC Sports Personality of the Year, voted on by the Australian public, ahead of Australian Kangaroos rugby league skipper Cameron Smith, AFL star Dustin Martin and Paralympic champion Curtis McGrath.

Proving the soaring popularity of the Matildas, Australian sport fans also voted them Public Choice Team of the Year ahead of NRL premiers the Melbourne Storm, AFL champions the Richmond Tigers and the Australian Diamonds netball team. The online poll, run in partnership between the AIS and ABC Grandstand, attracted almost 19,000 votes from fans.

Completing a trifecta of awards for the Matildas, Alen Stajcic was recognised by an AIS panel of experts as Coach of the Year.

The Matildas were finalists in six award categories, including Best Sporting Moment of the Year for their historic victory at the Tournament of Nations. The Best Sporting Moment, voted on by national media, was taken out by world champion boxer Jeff Horn for his underdog victory against Manny Pacquiao.

Almost 400 guests gathered at The Star in Sydney for the black tie function to celebrate the year in Australian sport, also highlighted by achievements in winter sport and women’s sport.

Australia’s form is building ahead of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in South Korea next year, winter sports taking out three major awards. World champion snowboarder Scott James claimed Male Athlete of the Year and Australian Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard was named Team of the Year after a record-breaking 2016-17 season. Alpine skier Mitchell Gourley produced Para Performance of the Year with a world championship victory.

Sally Pearson

Olympic gold medalist and hurdler Sally Pearson (pictured at the awards, above) was named Female Athlete of the Year for her inspirational world championship victory in the 100m hurdles in London. Young track cyclist Kelland O’Brien was named Emerging Athlete of the Year as a prominent member of Australia’s Men’s Track Pursuit team.

The inaugural AFL Women’s competition was another major milestone for women’s sport in 2017 and Susan Alberti was presented with the Award for Leadership for her vision and influence in driving the competition’s launch. President of the Australian Paralympic Committee Glenn Tasker was honoured for his long Service to Sport, particularly his dedication to increasing opportunity for athletes with a disability.

AIS Director Peter Conde said: “The AIS Sport Performance Awards are a wonderful chance to gather and celebrate world-class achievements. As new AIS Director I look forward to working with our Australian sporting partners in 2018 to deliver more success, including at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.”

AIS Sport Performance Awards winners

ABC Sports Personality of the Year (presented by ABC)
Sam Kerr (Football)

Female Athlete of the Year (presented by Berlei)
Sally Pearson (Athletics)

Male Athlete of the Year (presented by The Complete Dairy)
Scott James (Winter Sport)

Public Choice Team of the Year (presented by A.H. Beard)
Matildas (Football)

Best Sporting Moment (presented by 2XU)
Jeff Horn’s world boxing title (Boxing)

Coach of the Year (presented by Melbourne Business School)
Alen Stajcic (Football)

Para Performance of the Year (presented by Nestle)
Mitchell Gourley (Winter Sport)

Emerging Athlete of the Year (presented by Commonwealth Games Australia)
Kelland O’Brien (Cycling)

Team of the Year (presented by Gatorade)
Australian Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard (Winter Sport)

Award for Leadership (presented by Melbourne Business School)
Susan Alberti (Australian Football)

Service to Sport
Glenn Tasker (Australian Paralympic Committee)

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