2015/16 City of Ipswich sportstar of the year Leah Neale with her Olympic silver medal.
2015/16 City of Ipswich sportstar of the year Leah Neale with her Olympic silver medal. Rob Williams

Leah leads all-star field of Ipswich winners

IPSWICH'S Olympic achiever Leah Neale added another accolade to her growing collection, being crowned Queensland Times senior sportstar of the year.

Neale, 21, was named the winner at last night's 2015/16 City of Ipswich Sports Awards at the North Ipswich Corporate Centre.

The Ipswich born and bred swimmer recently received the Keys to the City after winning a silver medal as part of the Australian 4x200m relay team at this year's Rio Olympics.

The humble achiever has regularly spoken about how much she appreciates her support network in Ipswich.

Last night was another opportunity for the city to acknowledge her outstanding achievements in a year she reached the pinnacle in her sport.

The QT Junior Sportsperson of the Year recognised last night was a teenager going places in his sport.

Springfield Lakes karate champion Enrique Berrios has already excelled at international competitions, including the world youth titles in Croatia and Oceania championships.

He's becoming accustomed to winning medals in his individual and team kumite events representing Queensland and Australia.

Two other fine young regional achievers were also honoured.

Brookwater-based Louis Dobbelaar and Ipswich tennis ace Archie Graham received Sports Excellence awards for their efforts.

Dobbelaar recently won the New Zealand Amateur championships after major successes representing Queensland at under-18 level.

Graham was ranked number one in the world after representing Australia at the International Association of Sport's World Tennis Championships in the US this year. He excelled in singles and team events for tennis players with an intellectual disability.

Both were humble and excited winners.

A special Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented to tireless Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association official Bronis Carkeet. The emotional award recipient had no idea she was about to receive such a distinguished honour.


On a night where Ipswich's sporting diversity was showcased, other winners came from football, athletics, netball, hockey, Aussie rules and triathlon.

Western Pride Football Club's head coach Graham Harvey and Ipswich athletics mentor Diane Sheppard shared the coach of the year honour.

Harvey was in Florida on a holiday, offering his thanks through Western Pride official Kym Wickstein.

The Ipswich Netball Association's representative 13 years side was named Team of the Year after being state champions two years in a row.

Triathlete Greg Lebeter was chosen as Masters Sportsperson of the Year after representing Australia at the World Age Group Aquathon and Sprint Triathlon Championships in Mexico.

Rising Aussie rules umpire Mitchell Blashak was named Official of the Year and dedicated hockey worker Heather Scott received the Volunteer of the Year accolade.

Sport at all levels needs supportive sponsors so it was fitting that Llewellyn Motors tonight received the Corporate Sponsor of the Year award.

Proud Ipswich company Llewellyn Motors has made an extensive ongoing contribution to many sports, including rugby league and hockey.

Look out for photos and more stories from tonight's awards in Monday's QT and online.

Honour board

2015/16 City of Ipswich Sports award winners

Sports Excellence of the Year: Louis Dobbelaar (golf), Archie Graham (tennis).

The Queensland Times Senior Sportsperson of the Year: Leah Neale (swimming).

The Queensland Times Junior Sportsperson of the Year: Enrique Berrios (karate).

The Lifetime Achievement Award: Bronis Carkeet (Ipswich West Moreton Cricket Association).

Sporting Organisation of the Year: Western Pride Football Club.

Team of the Year: Ipswich Netball Association 13 years representative side.

Coaches of the Year: Graham Harvey (football), Diane Sheppard (athletics).

Corporate Sponsor of the Year: Llewellyn Motors - Ipswich Hockey Association and Ipswich Jets.

Masters Sportsperson of the Year: Greg Lebeter (triathlon).

Official of the Year: Mitchell Blashak (AFL).

Volunteer of the Year: Heather Scott (hockey).