NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) CEO Kevin Thompson spoke proudly of the night’s honourees in a year where the Institute’s athletes, coaches, and support staff are reflecting on the achievements of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“In 2021, NSWIS proudly supported an athlete contingency of 105 Olympic and 44 Paralympic athletes head to Tokyo to compete on the world stage,” he stated.
“Four gold medals in both the Olympics and Paralympics, 14 medals in the Olympics and 21 medals in the Paralympics, and we had 33 staff for the Tokyo Games. So, it’s remarkable the achievements in such a difficult year for everybody”.
In a year where we had the COVID-19 pandemic to deal with, the CEO said the Institute held two main goals in sight – one to keep everyone safe, and the second, to keep our daily training environments open, and that’s what we did.
“I cannot speak highly enough about the effort and commitment shown by our athletes, coaches, and support staff. Off the back of an extended lockdown, it’s great to come together tonight and celebrate the fantastic results found in what has been one of the most challenging years, and a long five years since the last Games cycle.”
“It’s great to be in a room full of people that you admire, that you respect, and that have worked so hard to achieve such great results in Tokyo,” Mr. Thompson said.
The NSWIS Canoe Slalom program was one of the night’s biggest winners being named the Sydney Olympic Park Authority Program of the Year while Paralympic Hall of Fame and Athletics Coach Louise Sauvage, picked up the Musashi Coach of the Year Award.
In a first for the awards, trio Jack Hargreaves, Alexander Purnell, and Spencer Turrin were collectively named the Powerade Male Athlete of the Year, and Madison De Rozario and Jessica Fox with equally impressive accomplishments at their respective Tokyo Games were honoured as dual Office of Sport Female Athletes of the Year.
Stuart Jones was voted the 7NEWS Spirit of Sport Award recipient for his actions at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics which captured the hearts of the public, slowing during his race to spur on another competitor.
In the night’s other awards, Australia’s most decorated female Paralympian of all time Ellie Cole was presented with the Ian Thorpe AM Outstanding Excellence Award while the Kookaburras’ star penalty shoot-out goal scorer Timothy Brand received the Southern Design Junior Athlete of the year Award. Matthew Levy was honoured with the Academic Excellence Award following his incredible achievements at his fifth Paralympics games, for his full-time work and studies, as well as the release of his autobiography, Keeping Your Head Above Water.
Since 1996, the NSW Institute of Sport has supported over 220 athletes to win medals for Australia at the Olympic and Paralympic Games and we continue to build on our proven history of Olympic, Paralympic, and international sporting success.
As we look to 2022, NSWIS looks forward to even more opportunities for our athletes to shine at the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Congratulations again to all of the 2021 NSWIS Awards finalists and to our winners.
2021 NSWIS Awards Winners
Powerade Male Athlete of the Year: Jack Hargreaves, Alexander Purnell, and Spencer Turrin
Office of Sport Female Athlete of the Year: Jessica Fox and Madison De-Rozario
7News Spirit of Sport: Stuart Jones
Southern Design Junior Athlete of the Year: Timothy Brand
Musashi Coach of the Year: Louise Sauvage
Sydney Olympic Park Authority Program of the Year: Canoe Slalom
Ian Thorpe AM Outstanding Achievement: Ellie Cole
Academic Excellence: Matthew Levy