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2023 Victorian Disability Sport & Recreation Awards

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Celebrating inclusive sporting achievements for over fourteen years

[Image ID: There is a room full of seated people facing towards the stage. On the stage, there is a man in a grey suit speaking into a microphone, with an Auslan interpreter dressed in black standing to his left. There is a large white screen in the background with blue text that says 2023 VDSR Awards.]

The 2023 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards took place on Tuesday 3rd October at the iconic, Marvel Stadium. These awards provide an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the athletes, volunteers, officials, administrators, clubs, venues and programs that enable and empower people with disability to get active and achieve their goals.

​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.

On Tuesday, over 160 guests from the disability sporting community came together to acknowledge the achievements of people with disabilities and celebrate accessible and inclusive sport across the state. In addition to the 12 awards categories featured on the night, there was a special celebration for DSR Kids Camp volunteer, Timothy Chiu, in recognition of his 30-year commitment to supporting DSR’s Summer and Winter Camps.

[Image ID: There are 19 people positioned in front of the white VDSR Awards media wall, with two people in wheelchairs and one person kneeling down at the front. Everyone is facing the camera and smiling, with some people holding their glass award trophies.]

DSR CEO Liz Tesone spoke on the night's importance in her opening speech.

"The ceremony provides an opportunity to celebrate the incredible athletes, volunteers, officials, administrators, clubs, venues, and programs that enable and empower people with disability to get active and achieve their goals," she said.

"...let us all be inspired to continue to work collectively to move forwards and celebrate what is truly possible for people with disability."

The evening also featured keynote speeches from Richmond AFL Wheelchair player, Peter Ogunyemi, and Australian Steelers Wheelchair Rugby Paralympian, Shae Graham. Both athletes shared their unique and inspiring stories with the audience, highlighting their incredible achievements and empowering the next generation of sports stars to follow their dreams.

The winners from the 2023 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards are:

  • Sport and Recreation Victoria Volunteer of the Year - Anne Cherny

  • Love the Game Team of the Year - Team Vic, Special Olympics

  • My Sport Live Coach/Fitness Leader of the Year - Sally Francis OAM

  • WorkSafe Victoria Administrator of the Year​ - Shane Bicknell

  • Sport and Recreation Victoria Sport Initiative of the Year - AFL Barwon Inclusion League

  • Clublinks Active Recreation and Leisure Initiative of the Year - emotion21, Inclusion Foundation

  • Polytan Inclusive Sport, Recreation or Open Space Infrastructure - Camp Manyung, YMCA

  • Carbine Club Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson of the Year - Jack Howell

  • My Sport Live Masters Sportsperson of the Year - Ross Patterson

  • Active Melbourne Community Sportsperson of the Year - Chris Henderson

  • Polytan Elite Sportsperson of the Year - Sarah Larcombe

  • Kevin Coombs Lifetime Achievement Awards - Danni Di Toro, Julie Cass and Aileen Marshall

Nominations for the 2023 VDSR Awards are for achievements, initiatives, programs, activities and developments that took place between July 2022 and June 2023.

Congratulations to all nominees, finalists and award winners! Stay tuned, as more event photos will be released shortly.

Further information on the annual VDSR Awards is available here:

This event is proudly supported by Major Partners; Polytan, Victorian Government, WorkSafe Victoria and Carbine Club, Associate Sponsors; Clublinks, Active Melbourne, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and My Sport Live, and Event Supporters; Sports Accounting Australia and VicHealth.


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