Rowing Australia (RA) has honoured its highest achievers, greatest contributors and most dedicated community members in a gala event that also saw its Patron, Mrs Gina Rinehart AO, awarded the inaugural Service to Rowing Award.

The Australian rowing community gathered at the Canberra Rex Hotel on Friday night to celebrate a busy 2023 and look forward to 2024 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athletes Tara Rigney, Cameron Girdlestone, Paddy Holt, Jack O’Brien, Torben Ungemach, Alex Wood and Marcus Della Marta all walked away with awards.

Mrs Rinehart was named as the first winner of the Service to Rowing Award, which honours a member of the rowing community who has made a significant and enduring contribution to the sport. She was presented with the award by Rowing Australia President Rob Scott.

“We could not think of a more fitting inaugural winner than Mrs Rinehart, who has been such a passionate and generous supporter of our sport for many years and will be for many years to come,” Rowing Australia Chief Executive Officer Sarah Cook OLY said.

Mrs Rinehart would also be on hand to present two of the Rowing Leadership awards named in her honour, with World Champion Jed Altschwager (PR3 Mixed Double) and World Championships Bronze Medallist Tara Rigney (Single Sculls) revealed as the winners.

It was a busy night for Altschwager, who along with Nikki Ayers PLY took out Para Crew of the Year and was also named the 776BC Rower’s Rower of the Year, an award voted on by his peers in the Australian Rowing Team.

The female Crew of the Year went to the Women’s Pair of Jess Morrison OAM and Annabelle McIntyre OAM, who won a Silver Medal at the World Rowing Championships and twin Gold Medals at the World Rowing Cups, while the Men’s Eight, including NSWIS athletes Paddy Holt and Jack O’Brien was Male Crew of the Year after an historic World Cup Gold followed by World Championships Bronze.

Women’s Head Coach John Keogh was unveiled as Coach of the Year while Fremantle Rowing Club was among the major community winners after being named Bont Club of the Year.

“This was a night where we can not only celebrate the achievements of our elite athletes and coaches but the volunteers, officials, community clubs and those who have dedicated a lifetime to helping our sport be the best it can be,” Cook said.

“We thank and acknowledge all of the nominees and winners and look forward to celebrating again next year in the wake of what we know will be an unforgettable Olympic and Paralympic Regatta in Paris.”

Full list of winners:

Service to Rowing Award: Mrs Gina Rinehart AO

Gina Rinehart AO Rowing Leadership Awards: Jed Altschwager, Tara Rigney

Retirees: Angus Moore, Cameron Girdlestone, Georgia Nesbitt

Para Crew of the Year: PR3 Mixed Double Scull (Jed Altschwager, Nikki Ayers PLY)

Female Crew of the Year: Women’s Pair (Jessica Morrison OAM, Annabelle McIntyre OAM)

Male Crew of the Year: Men’s Coxed Eight – Paddy Holt and Jack O’Brien

Para Coach of the Year: Chad King

Coach of the Year: John Keogh

Life Member: The Honourable Patrick McNamara AM

Life Member Inductee: Chris Grummitt

Volunteer of the Year: Mike Angus

Official of the Year: Caroline Schomberg

Bont Club of the Year: Fremantle Rowing Club

Bolle Pathways Crew of the Year: U23 Men’s Four – Torben Ungemach, Alex Wood

Pathways Coach of the Year: Jamie McDonald

Commonwealth Games Australia Beach Sprint Crew of the Year: Marcus Della Marta

77BC Rower’s Rower of the Year: Jed Altschwager

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