THE Victorian Sport Awards is the night of nights for the Victorian sporting community, celebrating participants, coaches and the organisers and volunteers behind the scenes from all levels of sport in Victoria.
Each year the Victorian Sport Awards will honour those who have made an outstanding contribution to sport in Victoria as individual or team athletes, coaches, administrators and volunteers from both metropolitan and regional areas in Victoria.
Entrants in the Awards are nominated by friends, family, teammates, club members or their local community because of their outstanding contribution to sport and active recreation.
Every year, the Victorian Sport Awards receives hundreds of nominations which aim to recognise and celebrate those members of our Victorian community and the 2017 Victorian Sport Awards was no exception.
The quality and breadth of the nominations received makes selecting the finalists a difficult endeavour, which is why the 2017 Victorian Sport Awards sought the help of 32 highly qualified Victorian sports people to constitute the judging panels charged with picking the finalists across the 18 categories.
Judges include people from various diverse sporting groups and roles including: •Rosie King – Rosie is the CEO of Netball Victoria and a Director of the Australian Paralympic Committee •Steve Moneghetti AM, himself a winner of the 1989 and 1995 Male Athlete of the Year and 2001 Outstanding Contribution to Sport Awards •David Parkin, a former AFL player and four-time AFL premiership coach •Lindsay Gaze, who played basketball for Australia at three Olympics between 1960 and 1968 and coached the Australian basketball team at four Olympics between 1972 and 1984 The Victorian Sport Awards are presented by the State Government of Victoria and Vicsport and are being held on Wednesday 14 March, 2018 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Ballarat local Kellie Tait (AAA Sports Ballarat) has been nominated for Victorian Community Coach of the Year.
Kellie is the founder/ coordinator of Access All Abilities Sport Ballarat, a not-for-profit organisation which exists to provide introductory sporting programs for children with disabilities.
The group gives local children the rare opportunity to participate in organised sport.
The program caters to four sports – AFL, soccer, netball and cricket.
“Children with any sort of disability are able to take part in our program,” Ms Tait said.
“We have children with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, fragile X, autism.” The group started 2 years ago and has expanded from 15 children in the first season to around 45.
“Over the two years we have had about 130 children come through the group and that is a lot of kids who weren’t getting access to mainstream sport before,” she said.
“For us, we have a son with autism, as parents we really appreciate that its hard to find those fun, enjoyable times with kids and to see the parents be able to sit here on the sidelines and not have to be out there with the kids, probably makes me the happiest because they get to enjoy their kids rather than being the ones who are having to participate all the time.” AAA has aligned with Ballarat Grammar School who allows their students to come and do community based hours with them, which takes a lot of pressure off Ms Tait and her husband and allows for one-one coaching.
Ms Tait said she was ‘blown away’ with her nomination.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said.
“I feel really honoured and blessed to be in the company of some really great sporting people in Victoria.”