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2023 VDSR Awards Finalists Revealed!

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Disability Sport and Recreation is proud to unveil the finalists for this year’s 2023 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards (VDSR Awards).

[Image ID: The Award winners from 2022 are standing outside holding their Awards, with some individuals up the front in wheelchairs. Buildings in the Melbourne CBD can be seen in the backdrop.]

The VDSR Awards celebrate and acknowledge the unsung heroes, talented athletes, dedicated volunteers, exceptional coaches, inclusive clubs, and empowering programs within the disability sport and recreation sector.

“We’re incredibly proud that the VDSR Awards continue to grow and provide an opportunity to come together in recognition of the outstanding achievements across our sector,” Disability Sport and Recreation Programs & Events Manager, Marshall James said.
“Disability Sport and Recreation is thrilled to be hosting this year’s event at the iconic Marvel Stadium and we look forward to celebrating the extraordinary contributions to inclusive sport and recreation in Victoria,” James concluded.

This year saw a record number of nominations once again, showcasing the continued growth and accomplishments within inclusive sport and recreation. The talented panel of independent judges faced a difficult task when selecting finalists, with the quality of nominations improving year after year.

"It was an honour to review the exceptional calibre of nominations for the 2023 Disability Sport and Recreation Awards,” Executive Officer of Regional Sports Victoria and judging panel member, Meghan Mayman said.
“I applaud the remarkable achievements of every athlete, volunteer, official, administrator, sport club, program, and individual who was nominated. Their accomplishments throughout this year are truly commendable, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to those who consistently strive to create better experiences for those participating in disability sports and recreation on a daily basis," Mayman concluded.

Disability Sport & Recreation is honoured to announce the 2023 VDSR Awards finalists:

1. Sport and Recreation Victoria Volunteer of the Year

  • Anne Cherny, Multiclass Sports Association

  • Cally Bauman, Special Olympics Melbourne Inner East

  • Brooke Carter, Victorian Goalball Association

2. Love the Game Team of the Year

  • Victoria Protect Thunder Wheelchair Rugby Team, Disability Sport & Recreation/Wheelchair Rugby Victoria

  • Team Vic, Special Olympics Victoria

  • Melbourne City FC Powerchair Team, Melbourne City FC

3. Polytan Elite Sportsperson of the Year

  • Sarah Larcombe, Sport Climbing Victoria/Adaptive Climbing Victoria

  • Andrew Robbins, Dandenong Casey Titans Special Olympics Sports Club/Melbourne Southern Special Olympics

  • Vicki Robbins, Special Olympics Australia/Dandenong Casey Titans/Melbourne Southern Special Olympics/Bocce Australia

4. Active Melbourne Community Sportsperson of the Year

  • Rebecca Webber, Rare Voices Australia & Reining Australia

  • Chris Henderson, Richmond FC Wheelchair AFL

  • Daniel Pritchard, Victorian Goalball Association

5. My Sport Live Masters Sportsperson of the Year

  • Nazim Erdem, Wheelchair Rugby Victoria

  • Maria Strong, Athletics Victoria/Athletics Essendon

  • Ross Patterson, Tennis Victoria/Tennis Australia

6. Sport and Recreation Victoria Sport Initiative of the Year

  • AFL Barwon Inclusion League, Leisure Networks/AFL Barwon

  • Inclusion@Sport Project, Banyule City Council

  • Victorian Blind Tennis Program, Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria

7. Clublinks Active Recreation Initiative of the Year

  • Advantage Autism - The Au-Tastic Tennis Program, Slamin Tennis and Fitness

  • The Bubble - a sensory friendly water safety experience, Life Saving Victoria

  • emotion21, Inclusion Foundation

8. Carbine Club Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson of the Year

  • Jack Howell, Triathlon Australia

  • Brady Cochrane, Basketball Victoria

  • Cayden Bell, Cranbourne Little Athletics Centre

9. WorkSafe Victoria Administrator of the Year

  • Serene Tan, Gymnastics Victoria

  • Jon Watson, Tennis Victoria

  • Shane Bicknell, Little Athletics Victoria Western Country Region

10. My Sport Live Coach/Fitness Leader of the Year

  • Sally Francis OAM, Para Equestrian

  • Mary Longden, Riding for the Disabled Victoria

  • Vicky Lee, Slamin Tennis and Fitness

11. Polytan Inclusive Sport, Recreation or Open Space Infrastructure

  • Powered Beach Wheelchair, City of Port Phillip

  • Camp Manyung, YMCA Camping

12. Kevin Coombs Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Julie Cass, Cranbourne All Abilities Football

  • Danni Di Toro, Table Tennis Victoria

  • Aileen Marshall, Maryborough Riding for the Disabled

We look forward to celebrating the remarkable achievements of all finalists and hope you can join us in making history at the world-renowned, Marvel Stadium!

Key event details:

Date: Tuesday 3rd October, 2023

Time: 4:30pm - 8:30pm

Venue: Victory Room, Marvel Stadium

Disability Sport & Recreation extends a huge thank you to our Major Partners, Polytan, The Carbine Club and WorkSafe Victoria, Associate Sponsors, Victorian Government, My Sport Live, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Active Melbourne and Clublinks, and Event Supporters, Sports Accounting and VicHealth. The VDSR Awards would not be possible without your generosity and support.

For more information on the 2023 VDSR Award categories, please visit:


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