The Australian Sailing Team were named the APC’s Paralympic Team of the Year last night at the annual Australian Paralympic Awards held in Sydney.
The title was awarded to the Australian Paralympic Sailing team, comprising of three boats, which together achieved a near-perfect haul of two gold and one silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Russell Boaden, Jonathan Harris and Colin Harrison, who were dominant throughout their Games campaign, won gold in the 3-person keelboat Sonar event and teammates Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch became the first pair ever to win the 2-person keelboat SKUD18 title back-to-back. Matt Bugg also performed strongly, placing second in the single person keelboat 2.4mR to win Australia’s first ever medal in that class.
Topping off the successful evening, Liesl Tesch was awarded the inaugural Uncle Kevin Coombs Medal for the Spirit of the Games. This accolade, which was decided by Paralympic team co-captains Kurt Fearnley and Danni Di Toro was awarded to the seven-time Paralympian. Tesch has competed in five Paralympics in Basketball, and twice in sailing. In selecting Tesch for the award, Di Toro commented “when I think about this mob and what it means to be a Paralympian, not only our successes as athletes but also as Teammates and members of the community, none fly the flag higher than Liesl.”
Australian Sailing CEO, Matt Carroll, was delighted that the hard-working team had been recognised.
“We’re extremely proud of our Paralympic sailors, and to have them recognised with these awards is testament to their hard work and commitment, both on and off the water,” said Carroll. “They’re wonderful ambassadors for our sport and for the wider Paralympic community.”