The 2017/2018 Triathlete of the Year were crowned on Saturday 16 June as we celebrated the end of the season at the Triathlon WA Annual Awards Breakfast in front of a sell out crowd. This year saw the event move to a new venue, the beautiful Ambrose Estate at Wembley Golf Course, and as the sun rose over the picturesque course over 200 friends, family and fellow athletes joined to celebrate and reflect on a season that has been full of challenges.
It was another great year of performances by WA athletes on a state, national and international level, bother in the junior and open/age group ranks. There were 6 world champions, including Felicity Sheedy-Ryan in the Elite Duathlon, Alec Davison in the Elite Junior Cross Triathlon and Emily Loughnan, the first female age grouper across the line at the IRONAMN World Championships at Kona, taking the 25-29 age group. With 2 national championships held in WA, the National Duathlon Championships at Champion Lakes and the National Long Course Championships at SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton, the list of national champions was extensive. There were 27 National Duathlon Champions and 20 National Long Course Champions. There were another 8 national champions across other disciplines/distances including Luke Bate, the National Junior Champion, Kerry Morris the Open Sprint Champion and Ann Brinkamp the Female Ultraman Champion. To see the full list, click here.
It has been another standout season for our Junior Development athletes, with numerous podium results throughout the Australian Youth and Junior Series. West Australian Juniors competed at each round of the National Series which moved between Runaway Bay, Glenelg, Perth which again hosted the National Championships, Devonport and New Plymouth in New Zealand, with outstanding results. Rhianna Hepburn, Taylor Kroyer and Luke Bate took out the National Championships in their age group at Way out West and Taylor and Rhianna were rewarded for their consistent results across the season, taking the Overall Series Point Score Championships. WA also took second overall at the Australian Schools Championships behind Queensland and in front of heavy hitters NSW and Victoria, showing the depth in the local talent. Luke Bate, UWA Triathlon Club, was awarded the 2018 Development Athlete of the Year following wins at Glenelg, Runaway Bay and the National Championship at Way Out West and most recently placed 3rd at Osaka Elite Asian Sprint. For the full junior results, click here.
The success of our junior program was also reflected in the Coach of the Year, which was awarded to Steve Gleeson from Break Your Limits. Steve has built a squad of top level athletes including 2 Australian Elite Juniors in Jess Claxton and Liam McCoach, National Champions including Tayor Kroyer and Rhianna Hepburn and top para athletes, Sally Pilbeam and Brant Garvey. Steve went to Rotterdam ITU World Championship as a Triathlon Australia coach and more recently went to Yokohama as a WTS Para Elite Coach.
The Technical Program also had a strong year, with three officials, Cathy Hoare, Shane Burnett and Frank Stapleton, going to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Six people were recognised for 5 years service, 4 for 10 years and Robyn Scott and Frank Stapleton were recognised for 20 years service as technical officials. Damien D'Antoine won the Steve Barrie award in recognition for his service and dedication over the year.
In the Club awards, UWA took out the Club Event Series. The Club had made the series a focus for the season and had athletes at 8 of the 9 races. Brenden Koh, President of UWA Tri Club accepted the award and encouraged all clubs to get behind this series. Champion Club was awarded to Break Your Limits, who were traditionally strong in the junior space had seen a swell in the senior numbers this year enabling them to prevail over last years winners Exceed.
In the Individual Performance of the year Award, Felicity Sheedy-Ryan was recognised for her performance at the ITU World Duathlon Championships, taking out the Elite title in Penticton, Canada. Young gun, Alec Davison took out the male award for his performance at the ITU World Cross Triathlon Championship, taking out the Junior Elite title.
This year saw a new award added to the program, the Service to Sport Award. This award is to recognise individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the sport of triathlon at a club event or other association level over an extended period of time. The inaugural award had two winners. Grant Landers, UWA Triathlon Club, was recognised for his involvement in the sport since 1991, particularly for his work in the coaching area and his role in the development of junior programs in WA. Rob Wiles was the other recipient. He has been a technical official for over 20. During his time in the sport he has been a member and contributed at Stadium Perth and now Perth Hills Triathlon Club. He is a coach and strong supporter of novices and beginners and was involved with the establishment of Perth Para Tri Program.
It was an emotional Steve Norton who accepted the Chris Hewitt Memorial Award (President's Award) for his outstanding contribution to the sport. Steve has been a board member since 2014 and is the current Vice President. He is the Chair of the Technical Reference Panel and a member of the Triathlon Australia Ethics and Integrity Panel. He has been a technical official for 5 years and officiated at 16 races this season whilst also coaching with his club Stadium Triathlon Club. Steve, in his acceptance speech said "It's not about giving back to the sport. It's about staying involved in the sport that I love."
The morning was rounded out with the Triathlete of the Year Award with two new names being added to the trophy this year. Kirby Diaz was awarded Female Triathlete of the Year from the ever consistent Rosie Farrell and the improving Anthea Stacey in third. Mike Lori was named Male Triathlete of the Year from Oli Stenning in second and Jonney Sammut in third. For a full listing of Open, Age Group and Junior winners, click here.
2018 Award Winners
Development Program Athlete of the Year - Luke Bate
Coach of the Year - Steve Gleeson
Club Event Series Winner - UWA Triathlon Club
Champion Club - Break Your Limits
Service to Sport - Grant Landers/Rob Wiles
Female Individual Performance of the Year - Felicity Sheedy-Ryan
Male Individual Performance of the Year - Alec Davison
Chris Hewitt Memorial Award - Steve Norton
Steve Barrie Award - Damien D'Antoine
Technical Official Service to Sport