Shooters set sights on Rio
The Australian shooting team has secured a further 14 quota spots for the 2016 Olympic Games following the conclusion of the 2015 Oceania Championships last week. A total of 18 spots have now been secured for the team, one more than the 17 spots at the 2012 Olympic Games. NSWIS athletes James Willett and Dan Repacholi secured a place for Australia at the 2016 Games with their respective gold medals in the men’s shotgun double trap and 50m pistol, while fellow NSWIS athletes Michael Diamond (shotgun trap) and Warren Potent (50m rifle prone) had previously earned quota spots during the international season. The first Olympic selection event will be the Australia Cup 2 in Adelaide from 11-13 December.
Wellings secures automatic nomination
Runner Eloise Wellings has earned automatic nomination for selection to the 2016 Australian Olympic Team after winning the women’s 10,000m at the Zatopek:10 over the weekend. Wellings triumphed in a time of 32:02.61 to claim her fourth national 10,000m crown, winning by nearly 24 seconds from her nearest competitor. “I felt pretty easy during the first 15 laps, that was when the girls pulled out. I knew that was going to happen, though, and I just made sure that I was ready to dig deep and hurt towards the end, becoming a bit like a metronome," Wellings said to Athletics Australia after the win. Wellings’ effort means that seven NSWIS athletes have posted Rio qualifying times across 10 events, with official selections to take place next year.
Kookaburras win World League
The Australian men’s hockey team has won the FIH World League for the first time after defeating Belgium 2-1 in the final in India. The Kookaburras’ tournament was off to a mixed start after an early loss to Great Britain before the team rebounded to defeat Canada, Germany and the Netherlands en route to the gold medal match. The gold medal match saw the Kookaburras establish a 2-0 lead after 37 minutes that the Belgians were unable to match, with NSWIS athlete Matthew Dawson scoring the team’s second goal. Belgium’s only goal coming in the 60th minute. The NSWIS athletes in the team were Dawson, Kieran Govers and Simon Orchard. Elsewhere, the women’s World League final began in Argentina with the Hockeyroos winning their opening match 1-0 over China. NSWIS athlete Georgina Morgan scored the Australians’ only goal in the 43rd minute, with fellow NSWIS athletes Mariah Williams and Emily Smith also taking to the pitch. The Hockeyroos then went on to defeat the hosts 2-1 in their second game of the tournament, with Morgan scoring a penalty corner as the siren went to secure victory.
Sailors reign supreme
NSWIS sailors Liesl Tesch and Daniel Fitzgibbon are the toast of Australian sailing after claiming victory in the SKUD18 at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships last week. The duo successfully defended their title from 2014 after winning eight of 10 races and finishing no worse than third throughout the week, extending an unbeaten run that dates back to their gold medal winning performance at the 2012 Paralympic Games. “This is exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to practice to sail our best race. You never know when you need to sail the best race so we have to practice racing our best, every single time and stay focused right to the end,” Tesch said to Yachting Australia after the win. Tesch and Fitzgibbon have also won a number of other prestigious sailing titles including the ISAF Sailing World Cup and Delta Lloyd Regatta to place themselves as early favourites heading into the 2016 Paralympic Games. There was added success for fellow NSWIS athlete Jonathan Harris, who won silver in the Sonar class alongside Colin Harrison and Russell Boaden. The trio was leading the competition for much of the regatta before falling behind on the penultimate day and eventually finishing second by just one point.
Short Course Championships wrap up
The 2015 Australian Short Course Swimming Championships concluded over the weekend with a number of NSWIS athletes winning medals. The results were highlighted by reigning world champions Tiffany Thomas Kane and Ellie Cole, who between them won five gold and one silver medal. Thomas Kane made a clean sweep in the women’s 50m freestyle, 50m breaststroke and 100m breaststroke multi-class events, while Cole triumphed in the women’s 100m freestyle and backstroke multi-class events, and took silver in the women’s 50m freestyle multi-class event. Mitch Kilduff enjoyed victory in the men’s 50m freestyle multi-class and 100m butterfly multi-class, while also picking up silver and bronze in two other events. Kenneth To’s four medal haul included gold in the men’s 100m individual medley alongside three silver medals, while young gun Matthew Wilson won the men’s 200m breaststroke while also taking bronze in the men’s 100m breaststroke. Other medallist from the championships included Taylor Corry (one gold, one bronze, one silver), Sean Russo (one gold, one silver) and Marieke D’Cruz, Kazimir Boskovic and Tomas Elliott who each won one bronze medal.
World League continues
The Australian men’s hockey team suffered its heaviest ever defeat to Great Britain after falling 5-2 at the Hockey World League in India. The Kookaburras, featuring NSWIS athletes Matthew Dawson, Kieran Govers and Simon Orchard, were behind 2-0 after 13 minutes and were unable to trouble Team GB as they dropped to third in pool A. The team will next play Canada on Wednesday morning AEDST before the quarter-finals begin on Thursday. Elsewhere, the women’s Hockey World League begins this weekend in Rosario, Argentina with the Hockeyroos facing China in their first pool match on Sunday morning AEDST. Included in the women’s team are NSWIS athletes Georgina Morgan, Emily Smith and Mariah Williams.
Cycling team named for New Zealand
Three NSWIS athletes have been named in the Australian Cycling Team for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in New Zealand. The selections are headlined by reigning world champion Ashlee Ankudinoff, who will join fellow world champions Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Melissa Hoskins in the team pursuit for the first time since their world title triumph in Paris. Ankudinoff will be joined by fellow NSWIS athletes Kaarle McCulloch and Peter Lewis, who will compete in the women’s and men’s sprint events respectively. The World Cup takes place in Cambridge, New Zealand from 4-6 December.
Delfour seventh in Rio
NSWIS paddler Lucien Delfour enjoyed his first taste of competition in Rio de Janeiro by placing seventh in the men’s K1 at the Rio Test Event. Delfour recorded the third fastest raw time of the semi-finalists before penalties moved him back to the ninth-fastest qualifier for the final. He then improved two spots to seventh overall with a time of 98.58, touching the first gate in the final before executing a clean run through the next 23 gates.
Cyclist, Western Sydney athletes dominate NSWIS Awards
A world champion cyclist and a diverse trio of athletes from Sydney’s west dominated the annual NSW Institute of Sport Awards at a gala ceremony at the Sydney Cricket Ground last night. Penrith’s Rio Paralympic rowing hopeful Erik Horrie claimed the ClubsNSW Male Athlete of the Year award, Faulconbridge’s rising swimming star Matthew Wilson picked up the Mizuno Junior Athlete of the Year prize and St Clair’s world cup winning netballer Paige Hadley beat a red-hot all-woman field to take home the prestigious Ian Thorpe OAM Outstanding Achievement presented by NEC Australia. Others to win major awards on a stunning Sydney night hosted by Alan Jones AO, included Menai cyclist Ashlee Ankudinoff in the Sydney City Toyota Female Athlete of the Year category, and Gillieston Heights’ London Paralympic swimming gold medallist Maddison Elliott in the Office of Sport Regional Athlete of the Year class. Ankudinoff, coming off the back of a world championship winning performance as part of Australia’s team pursuit quartet, won the award in a category that also featured Elliott, Winter Olympian Britteny Cox, world champion netballer Sharni Layton and the 2014 winner and slalom canoe Olympic silver medallist Jessica Fox. Ankudinoff had a stellar year on the track but was still shocked to claim the award in such a tightly contested category. "I’m a bit lost for words to be honest, the other nominees have all had plenty of success but personally I couldn’t have asked for a better year," Ankudinoff said. "To be crowned Australian champion, Oceania champion and world champion and then to receive this award, it tops off a great year after all the hard work I have put in. "I have a lot to thank the NSWIS and my coach Brad McGee for over the last year and a half, I wasn’t in the top four in Australia or in the Australian team this time last year, so without their support I definitely wouldn’t be standing here with this award as a world champion." Horrie’s award was further recognition for his brilliant year that witnessed a third consecutive world arms and shoulders single scull world title in an event that he remains unbeaten in since a heroic silver medal winning performance at the London Paralympics. The multi-sport Australian representative won the gong ahead of fellow rower Cameron Girdlestone, freestyle skier Russ Henshaw, canoe sprint paddlers Lachlan Tame and Riley Fitzsimmons and Paralympic swimmer Matthew Levy. Horrie, who has also been nominated for the world para-rowing athlete of the year, said the award was a nice sweetener to go with his world title. “This certainly has capped off a very good year for me,” Horrie said. “It is nice when you are recognised and win these awards. It’s not what you get up for in the mornings, but it’s the icing on the cake to actually be recognised for your results, which I think every athlete wants to get.” Horrie paid tribute to the team around him that is helping drive a three-year unbeaten run. “Without the support of the NSWIS and all the staff that work with me I wouldn’t be here today. The move I made to be with NSWIS in 2013 has certainly been the best move as far as my rowing career goes.” Other award winners on the night included hurdler Nicholas Hough, who won two awards – the Academic Excellence award for the University of Sydney and the Commonwealth Bank Excellence in Vocation and Sport prize. Incredibly it was the third year in a row that the Bella Vista based Rio Olympic hopeful has claimed the Sydney Uni academic award. The Australian College of Physical Education Academic Excellence – General prize was won by freestyle moguls skier Matthew Graham, the NSWIS Coach of the Year presented by the AIS Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership, was cycling’s Bradley McGee OAM, whilst cycling also won the Sydney Olympic Park Authority Program of the Year. The NSW Institute of Sport CEO, Charles Turner, said the quality of award winners and other nominees demonstrated the strong position NSWIS athletes were in leading into 2016 and the Rio Olympic Games and Paralympics. “It has been another year of NSWIS athletes shining on both the domestic and international stage and it is great that we can come here tonight and celebrate everyone’s achievements,” Turner said. “Every year is important to an athlete but an Olympic and Paralympic year has that extra special importance and the athletes that were honoured tonight have some very big opportunities in 2016 and we are proud to be able to support them in trying to achieve their goals.” Full list of awards winners (with sport and home suburb): The Australian College of Physical Education Academic Excellence – General Matthew Graham (Winter Sport) The University of Sydney Academic Excellence Nicholas Hough (Track & Field) Commonwealth Bank Excellence in Vocation and Sport Nicholas Hough (Track & Field)