Five of Australia’s most inspiring athletes with a disability, including Paralympic medallists and an Afghanistan War veteran, have been named as finalists in The Primary Club’s Sir Roden Cutler Award. Among the 2017 finalists is Ryley Batt OAM, a four-time Paralympian and dual Paralympic gold medallist in Wheelchair Rugby, and Carol Cooke AM, a three-time gold medal winning Paralympic cyclist.
Also included as finalists are Paralympic sailor Matt Bugg, Paralympic gold-winning paratriathlete Katie Kelly, and endurance athlete and Australian of the Year finalist Michael Lyddiard.
The winner, to be announced at a major dinner at the Sydney Cricket Ground next Thursday night, will receive a $20,000 grant for sporting and recreational equipment to be given to an organisation they choose which reflects the Club’s charter.
Jim Maxwell, president of The Primary Club of Australia and legendary cricket commentator, said the finalists are an inspiration for not only people challenged with a disability, but the broader community too.
“What makes these five athletes worthy of being finalists in the Sir Roden Cutler award is their sporting accomplishments, their sheer determination to overcome their challenges and their tireless efforts to encourage other people living with a disability that they too can reach their dreams,” Mr Maxwell said.
The 2017 finalists in the Sir Roden Cutler award are:
Ryley Batt OAM, a four-time Paralympian in the Australian Wheelchair Rugby Team that has won two consecutive gold medals in London and Rio, who delivers Paralympic awareness talks and mentors young people with disabilities.
Matt Bugg, has a sailing world championship and a silver medal from the Rio Paralympics in the 2.4m class, who tirelessly works with sailors with disabilities in Tasmania by coaching and providing technical advice.
Carol Cooke AM, the winner of three Paralympic gold medals in cycling at the 2012/2016 Paralympic Games, who gives motivational talks to young women and founded the MS 24 Hour Megaswim which has raised over $7m for those living with Multiple Sclerosis since 2001.
Katie Kelly OAM, a gold medal winning Paratriathlete, who provides inspiration to young children with Usher’s Syndrome and founded the Sport Access Foundation to provide grants for disabled people to be involved in sport.
Michael Lyddiard, Afghanistan War veteran who after being severely injured in the line of duty has competed in triathlons, cycling, and distance swimming, who is an Ambassador for the Veteran Charity “Soldier On” and a finalist in the 2017 Queensland Australian of the Year awards.
The Sir Roden Cutler Award, established in honour of the Primary Club’s first Twelfth Man and Patron and the longest-serving Governor of New South Wales, recognises athletes with a disability who display enormous determination and dedication in their sporting pursuits, inspire the nation, and are the embodiment of the Australian spirit.
A portion of the grant this year comes from the Royal Australian Mint that will donate part of the proceeds from the recently released limited edition Richie Benaud 50 cent collectible coin, after it heard of the Primary Club of Australia from Daphne Benaud while she assisted with the coin’s creation. Richie Benaud was a foundation member of the Primary Club when it formed in 1974 and was its Twelfth Man and Patron from 2002 to 2014.
Royal Australian Mint Chief Executive Officer Mr Ross MacDiarmid said: “The Royal Australian Mint is proud to contribute to Richie Benaud’s legacy by not only releasing this special commemorative coin but also supporting the Primary Club of Australia and the athletic industry with a contribution of proceeds towards this inspiring program.”
By Primary Club