Paralympic and World Champions Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch were crowned the NSW Sports Team of the Year with Disability Award at last night’s NSW Sports Awards Night. Fitzgibbon and Tesch took home the Award amongst a variety of categories honoured at the NSW Sports Awards dinner at Curzon Hall, Marsfield. Nacra 17 crew of Lisa Darmanin and Jas Waterhouse were finalists for the Team of the Year Award, which went to the NSW Rugby 7’s Team.
The NSW Sports Awards is an all-embracing event that acknowledges the variety of sporting activity and achievement across the state every year. A total of 15 awards were presented recognising coaches, administrators, volunteers, masters and young athletes and athletes and teams with a disability.
Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch were recognised for their unbeaten run since the 2012 London Paralympic Games, which continued over 2015. Since winning Gold at the London 2012 Paralympic games the pair has been on top of the podium at every regatta they have competed at. They produced a dominating performance at the end of 2014 to win the Sailing World Cup in Melbourne, followed by another win at the World Cup in Miami in 2015. Daniel and Liesl won Gold at the Delta Lloyd regatta held in the Netherlands and they both received Sailor of the Year with a Disability at the Yachting Australia Awards in November 2015.
Most recently the pair defended their World Champion title at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships and wrapped up the year with Sailing World Cup Gold in Melbourne in December.
“The great thing about sport is the way people with disabilities can get involved, in sport and in life. The Minister was earlier speaking about integration and sport can provide that. We’re out having a go, on the water we’re just sailors, that’s why sport is great”, Daniel Fitzgibbon said on receiving the award.
Australia already qualified all three Paralympic boat classes at last year’s Para World Sailing World Championships with the sailors yet to be selected. Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have their eyes firmly set on defending their 2012 Paralympic Gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
After winning the World Championships as well as the World Cup in December the pair successfully finished another training camp in Rio on the Paralympic waters of Guanabara Bay in January. They will compete next at the EUROSAF regatta in Garda, Italy followed by the 2016 Para World Sailing Championships in Medemblik, The Netherlands in May.
By the Australian Sailing Team