The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has confirmed the finalists for Male Athlete of the Year and
Female Para-athlete of the Year categorieswith two weeks to go until the AIS Sport Performance Awards (#ASPAs).
Australian sailors Tom Burton and Matthew Wearn will go head-to-head for the Male Athlete of the Year honour while World champion Melissa Perrine features in a strong field for the Female Para-athlete of the Year, a well-deserved recognition for her gold medal winning performance at the World Para-alpine Skiing Championships earlier this year.
Both categories recognise the outstanding sporting achievements from the previous 12-months with the winners to be announced at a black-tie function at The Star, Sydney, on Tuesday 10 December 2019.
Finalists for Male Athlete of the Year are:
Tom Burton (Sailing): Tom continues to have a dominant presence in the Laser class and is currently ranked world number one. In the build-up to the Tokyo Games, Tom was consistently placed on the podium highlighted by his victories at the Laser Men's World Championship in Japan and at the Oceania and Australian Laser Championships in Tasmania. He was also runner-up at the Ready, Steady Tokyo Olympic Test event in August.
Kyle Chalmers (Swimming): At the FINA World Championships in South Korea, Kyle swam a PB to win the silver in an exhilarating 100m freestyle final going head-to-head with current world champion, Caleb Dressel. Both swimmers swam the fastest ever times since full body swim suits were banned in 2010. He also won gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay, silver in the 4x100m mixed relay and bronze medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
Rohan Dennis (Cycling): Rohan defended his world Time Trial title by winning gold at the Road World Championships in Yorkshire clocking 1hr 05min 05sec to be over a minute faster than Belgium's European champion Remco Evenepoel. Dennis was also second overall in the Tour de Suisse where he won Stage 1. He was also second in the Time Trial at the Australian Road Championships.
Scotty James (Snowboard): Scotty enjoyed an extraordinary snowboard season winning every event he entered. Along the way, he notched up his third consecutive FIS World Championship title at Park City, the first person to achieve such a feat. He finished the season with wins at The Dew Tour, X Games, US Grand Prix, Laax Open and the US Burton Open.
Matthew Wearn (Sailing): Matthew experienced another highly successful year on the world Laser sailing circuit including podium finishes at nearly all major international regattas. He finished the season with victories in the Laser Europeans in Porto and the Europa Cup in Hyeres and was runner-up at the Sailing World Cup and World Laser Championships in Japan.
Aran Zalewski (Hockey): Aran is co-captain of the Kookaburras who claimed the inaugural FIH Pro League – the new international home and away league featuring the world’s best hockey nations. The Kookaburras finished on top of the league and their win in the final over Belgium saw them regain the world number one ranking. Aran was named the 2019 ‘Best Player of Pro League’.
Finalists for Female Para-athlete of the Year are:
Tiffany Thomas Kane (Para-swimming): At the World Para Swimming Championships, Tiffany took almost three seconds off her personal best time to set a new championship record in the 100m breaststroke (SB7) heats. She went on to secure the gold medal. She also made the final in the 200m Individual Medley (SM7), Women’s 4x100m Medley (34 points), Women’s 4x100m Freestyle (34 points), 50m butterfly (S6) and 50m freestyle (S7).
Paige Greco (Para-cycling): Paige achieved her first selection in an Australian World Championship team at the 2019 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in the Netherlands. She won two gold medals and set two world records in both the C3 Individual Pursuit and Time Trial. She also represented Australia at the 2019 Road World Championships claiming another gold medal and a world title in the Time Trial.
Susan Seipel (Para-canoe): Susan continued her strong international performances winning two world championships medals. At the 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships, Susan finished second in the VL2 200m and third in the KL2 200m kayak event. She also won silver at the ICF Paracanoe World Cup in Poland and wrapped up a successful year with a silver medal in the women’s KL2 200 at the Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event.
Lauren Parker (Para-triathlon): Lauren commenced 2019 winning the Newcastle OTU Paratriathlon Oceania Championships and the Devonport ITU Paratriathlon World Cup. She was then placed third in the 2019 Yokohama ITU World Paratriathlon Series. She later won the gold medal at the 2019 ITU Paratriathlon World Championship and, a week later, won the gold medal at the 2019 Banyoles ITU Paratriathlon World Cup.
Emily Petricola (Para-cycling): Emily enjoyed an outstanding year winning World Championship gold medals on the track and road. At UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, she won the 3km C4 Individual Pursuit in a world record time and was placed third in the C4 Scratch Race. In September, Emily won the Individual Road Time Trial at UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Belgium.
Melissa Perrine (Para-alpine skiing): A triple Paralympian, Melissa partnered with sighted guide Bobbi Kelly to deliver a stand out international season. Together, they achieved 12 medals on the Para-alpine World Cup Circuit in the B2 visually impaired category, finishing second on the overall Para-alpine standings for the year. At the 2019 Para-alpine World Championships, they won four medals – including gold in the Super Combined, silver in Giant Slalom and Super G, and a bronze in Slalom.
Finalists for Female Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year, Male Para-athlete of the Year, Athlete Community Engagement, Team of the Year and High Performance Program of the Year have already been revealed with categories still to be announced including Emerging Athlete of the Year and Leadership Award.
The AIS, in partnership with ABC Grandstand, has also launched a public vote to determine the ABC Sport Personality of the Year and Best Sporting Moment of the past 12 months.
ABC Grandstand is the media partner for the AIS Sport Performance Awards and Australians can vote at aisawards.abc.net.au from now until 5pm AEDT on 5 December, 2019.