THE last week has been a memorable anniversary for local sporting hero, Ryley Batt.
Just one year ago, Batt and his team mates from the Australian wheelchair rugby team, the Steelers, celebrated their second gold medal win at the Rio Paralympic Games.
Not content to sit on their laurels, the team recently competed against their arch-rivals, Japan, to win the 2017 Oceania Championships in New Zealand with a score of 53-46.
“If we hadn’t won, we would have dropped to number three and lost our number one ranking,” Batt said.
“It was anyone’s game but we played a bit more controlled, more hungry for it, in order to cement our number one spot.”
Batt is also celebrating a ten year relationship with the Port Macquarie Hastings Sports Awards.
Batt first won the Port Macquarie Hastings Sportsperson of the Year in 2007, prior to winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and was crowned Sportsperson of the Year again in 2012.
This was in addition to the 2010 and 2011 Sportsperson with a Disability awards.
When asked how important these wins were, Batt said it was really important.
“To be in a wheelchair and to achieve something like that against other powerful sportspersons was a huge achievement for me,” he said.
“I was very proud to represent my local area.”
As a judge for the past four years, Batt loves the experience of getting to know who the emerging stars of local sport are.
“I love judging - it’s really good to read all the bios and nominations and follow how they are all going with their sport and what they have achieved,” he said.
“Picking the winners is really hard, but recognition is essential to motivate sportspersons to keep working at it and achieve the best they can.”
The Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise has been organising the Port Macquarie Hastings Sports Awards for 17 years.
Recently partnering with Port Macquarie Hastings Council has led to an opportunity to combine the awards with the selection of the Wayne Richards Sporting Scholarship.
President Jenny Sinclair wishes to remind individuals and teams that nominations close on September 30 and that they need to be made online at http://sunrise-rotary.org.au/sportsawards/
“With seven different categories covering individuals, teams, disability and volunteers, there is also the Wayne Richards Sporting Scholarship to apply for,” she said.
“Following your sporting passion can be expensive at times.
“A total of $7,000 in prizes is to be awarded to local champions to provide some financial support to achieve their sporting dreams.”
The eight highly sought-after awards include the
Wayne Richards Sporting Scholarship
Coast 2 Coast Sportsperson of the Year
John Patrick Isuzu Ute Junior Sportsperson of the Year (Primary School age)
Donovan Oates Hannaford Junior Sportsperson of the Year (High School age)
Patterson Real Estate Junior Team of the Year (18 years and Under)
Donovan Oates Hannaford Senior Team of the Year
Laing + Simmons Port Macquarie Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability
Hastings Physiotherapy Sporting Volunteer of the Year
· Greenmeadows Health Centre – Excellence in Sporting Achievements (awarded at judges’ discretion from nominees for other awards).
This year the Port Macquarie Hastings Sports Awards Presentation Breakfast ceremony will be held at 7am on Monday, 13 November at Port Panthers and proudly sponsored by Holiday Coast Credit Union.
For more information and the links to the online nomination form, please see www.sunrise-rotary.org.au/sportsawards