Olympic medallist and 2017 Canoe Slalom World Champion in the women’s K1 Jessica Fox (NSW) and Paralympic champion and 2017 ParaCanoe World Champion Curtis McGrath (QLD) headline the high-calibre list of athletes, coaches and volunteers who have been announced as finalists for the Australian Canoeing 2017 Annual Awards.
The awards recognise and honour the achievements of Australian Canoeing’s athletes, coaches and volunteers across 16 categories. The winners will be announced at the Australian Canoeing Annual Awards Dinner to be held at Surfers Paradise on Saturday, 4 November 2017. This year’s Annual Awards Dinner will also incorporate the inaugural Australian Canoeing Hall of Fame Induction.
“Our annual Awards provide us with opportunity to recognise the exceptional achievements of many people and across all aspects of our sports. Congratulations must go to all of those who are nominated for awards. It is their efforts that define the strength and profile of our organisation that benefits us all and we are looking forward to celebrating with everyone who made such a difference to our sport and organisation in the past year,” Andrea McQuitty, President Australian Canoeing, said.
All award finalists had exceptional results this year. Canoeist of the Year finalist Jessica Fox wrapped up another outstanding canoe slalom season with the World Champion title in the K1 at the recent ICF Slalom World Championships in Pau, France. Fox finished the international season with a total of 13 individual medals and three team medals in the women’s C1 and K1 events at the World Cups and World Championships. She is also a finalist for the Team of the Year Award together with sister Noemi Fox (NSW) and Kate Eckhardt (TAS).
Fox faces strong competition in the Canoeist of the Year category with fellow nominee and Paralympic Champion Curtis McGrath (QLD) holding two World Championship titles to his name in both the K1 and V1 paracanoe events after winning gold at the 2017 Paracanoe World Championships in both events. McGrath is also a finalist for the Paracanoeist of the Year award together with Paralympic medallists and 2017 ICF Paracanoe World Champions Amanda Reynolds (VIC) and Susan Seipel (QLD).
Olympian Alyce Burnett (QLD), who had a strong season in both the K1 and K2 and won the World Championship title in the K1 1000m at the 2017 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships as well as Olympian and U23 K1 1000m World Champion Alyssa Bull (QLD) complete the four Canoeist of the Year finalists.
Alyce Burnett is also a finalist for the Canoeist of the Year Non-Olympic category together with Australia’s number one men’s K1 marathon paddler Josh Kippin (WA), who won both the K1 and K2 at the 2016 and 2017 Australian Canoe Marathon Championships.
2017 K4 1000m World Champions Ken Wallace (QLD), Jordan Wood (QLD), Murray Stewart (NSW) and Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW) are recognised for their outstanding international season by making the finalist list of the 2017 Team of the Year. They are up against Jessica Fox, Noemie Fox and Kate Eckhardt, who won bronze in the women’s K1 team event at the 2017 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships. Also amongst the finalists are Brianna Jones (VIC) and Hannah Scott (VIC), who made the Junior Marathon team in 2016 and finished ninth at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships. The pair also won the Under 18 Women K2 at the 2017 Australian Canoe Marathon Championships.
Australian Canoeing’s future is looking bright with a number of high-performing Junior paddlers recognised in the Junior of the Year – Olympic award category, including Australian Junior Slalom Team paddler Lachlan Bassett (VIC) and Australian U23 and Junior Canoe Sprint Team paddlers Alexandria Choate (WA) and Mackenzie Duffy (QLD). Paracanoeist Dylan Littlehales (NSW), who is racing in the senior competition at age 17 and finished fifth at the 2017 Paracanoe World Championships in the Men’s KL3 200m, completes this category.
In the Junior of the Year – Non-Olympic award category Australian Marathon Canoe Team paddler Erin Blanch (QLD) is amongst the finalists together with Junior Wildwater World Championships team paddler James O’Donoghue Hayes (VIC) and Wildwater National Junior team paddler Georgia Tonkin (VIC).
Joining all the athletes in the finalist announcement are three Australian Canoeing national team coaches, who are nominated for Coach of the Year. 2015 and 2016 Coach of the Year winner and Paralympic National team coach Andrea King (QLD) is once again amongst the finalists. Other finalists are U23 and Junior sprint team coach Ramon Andersson (WA) and Canoe Slalom, National Talent Squad and Junior Team coach Warwick Draper (VIC).
Australian Canoeing’s night of recognition will also feature the Master Canoeist of the Year, Instructor of the Year, Technical Official of the Year, Special Services to Canoeing, the Award of Merit, the Award of Excellence as well as the President’s Award.
The annual awards will be presented at a Gala Dinner at the Mantra Legends on the Gold Coast on Saturday, 4 November 2017.
See a list of finalists for the Australian Canoeing 2017 Annual Awards here:
CANOEIST OF THE YEAR – OLYMPIC DISCIPLINE OR CATEGORY
CANOEIST OF THE YEAR – NON-OLYMPIC DISCIPLINE OR CATEGORY
JUNIOR CANOEIST OF THE YEAR – OLYMPIC DISCIPLINE OR CATEGORY
JUNIOR CANOEIST OF THE YEAR – NON-OLYMPIC DISCIPLINE OR CATEGORY
PARACANOEIST OF THE YEAR
MASTER CANOEIST OF THE YEAR
TEAM OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR
INSTRUCTOR AND GUIDE OF THE YEAR
Other awards that will also be awarded on the night include