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Exceptional campaigns in and around the sporting arena by Paralympians Emily Petricola and Ben Tudhope have been rewarded with prized recognition at the Australian Institute of Sport’s Sport Performance Awards.

Petricola established herself as a world-leading Para-cyclist in 2022, winning three gold medals at the Track World Championships in France, in the Women’s Pursuit C4, Women’s Scratch Race C4 and Women’s Omnium C4. She also won silver in the Women’s Time Trial C4 at the Road World Championships in Canada.

The track championships were staged at the velodrome which will host the 2024 Paris Paralympic cycling program, where Petricola will aim to add to the one gold and one silver medal she won at Tokyo 2020.

“Each of the finalists for Female Para-Athlete of the Year had a fantastic 2022,” Australian Paralympic Team Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin said. “Jess Gallagher, Katja Dedekind, Qian Yang and Emily were all exceptional representatives for their sports and the Paralympic Movement.

“Congratulations to Emily. She’s a senior member of our powerful Para-cycling team. She leads by example, is a member of the AUSCycling Athlete Commission and also does amazing work educating and supporting people through her experiences with multiple sclerosis.”

Tudhope was named Male Para-Athlete of the Year after claiming the Crystal Globe as the World Para-Snowboard Cross season champion in his classification, as well as the Crystal Globe for most successful Para-snowboard athlete across all disciplines.

Tudhope was Australian Paralympic Winter Team Co-captain at Beijing 2022, where he won the bronze medal in the Men’s Snowboard Cross SB-LL2, and was Closing Ceremony flag bearer. Tudhope was named Paralympics Australia’s 2022 Athlete of the Year.

“We know Ben is one of the world’s top Para-snowboarders, but he’s also using his position to help those around him,” McLoughlin said.

“Between a busy schedule of travelling and competing, Ben has been mentoring and guiding people through his work as an advocate for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and is passionate about creating opportunities in winter sports for people with a disability.”

McLoughlin made special mention of Australia’s World Championship-winning wheelchair rugby team, the Steelers, who secured three major nominations.

Coach Brad Dubberley was a finalist for Coach of the Year for masterminding the team’s resurgence after they missed out on a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics, the Paralympics Australia-run wheelchair rugby program was a finalist for High Performance Program of the Year, and the Steelers were a contender for Team of the Year, alongside the Australian Women’s Cricket Team, the Hockeyroos and Women’s Rugby 7s.

“The Steelers were one of the best stories in Australian sport in 2022,” McLoughlin said.

“They showed enormous resilience and professionalism to regain their place at the top of world wheelchair rugby and we’re very proud of what they achieved.”

2022 ASPAs Award Winners:
Female Athlete of the Year: Jessica Stenson, Athletics Australia
Female Para-Athlete of the Year: Emily Petricola, AusCycling
Male Athlete of the Year: Cam Smith, Golf Australia
Male Para-Athlete of the Year: Ben Tudhope, Snow Australia
Coach of the Year: Peter McNiel and Kate Blamey, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
Emerging Athlete of the Year: Donnell Wallam, Netball Australia
High Performance Program of the Year: Athletics Australia
Award for Leadership: Petria Thomas, Commonwealth Games Australia
Team of the Year: Women’s Rugby 7s, Rugby Australia
Community Engagement Award: Kyle Vander-Kuyp, Athletics Australia
Win Well Award: Victorian Institute of Sport
Sport Volunteer of the Year Award: Nicole Williams, Cricket Australia

By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 16 December 2022