What amazing talent: Ipswich sport's best on show
IF anyone ever doubted the rich diversity of Ipswich sport, they only had to see this exceptional line-up.
An impressive range of sporting achievements were showcased at the annual City of Ipswich Sports Awards function at the North Ipswich Corporate Centre on Friday night.
Apart from major winners like Leah Neale, Enrique Berrios, Louis Dobbelaar and Archie Graham, the city's incredible dedication was highlighted in team sports, coaching, volunteering, official roles, sponsorship and masters competition.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, sports councillor David Morrison and other members of their team were rightly proud to back the awards and recognise those making valuable sporting contributions to the city.
Top achievers included Volunteer of the Year winner Heather Scott, who has serviced the Ipswich Hockey Association for several years.
She's fulfilled many roles such as records secretary, executive committee member, treasurer, judicial functions, canteen worker and a member of the technical committee.
Leichhardt-based Scott is planning to use the $2000 she received to enjoy a well-deserved cruise with her husband Phil.
"This is a real surprise,'' Scott said. "I'm very proud to win this award.''
Joint coaches of the year Graham Harvey and Diane Sheppard typify the value of focusing on youth to provide pathways to higher honours.
With Western Pride head coach Harvey being in Florida enjoying a holiday, Pride official Kym Wickstein accepted the award.
Athletics mentor Sheppard spoke about the importance of having coaches that parents can trust under their care, to help young people achieve their higher level goals.
Western Pride was named Sporting organisation of the Year.
General manager Pat Boyle was appreciative of Cr Morrison and Council's support in helping growing regional clubs like Pride.
"To be honest, we wouldn't be where we are in four years without you guys,'' he said.
Boyle also praised Pride's dedicated team for their efforts. "They are a fantastic group of people and what they do for juniors is just second to none,'' he said.
Collingwood Park-based Mitchell Blashak was named Official of the Year for his high performance efforts at national carnivals and being part of the AFL Queensland State Umpiring Academy.
The Team of the Year was the Ipswich Netball Association's under-13 representative side that won back-to-back state titles.
"These girls are pretty amazing so we're pretty pumped to win it this year,'' coach Amy Fatialofa said.
The latest Masters Sportsperson of the Year among the 200 guests was Greg Lebeter who seemed surprised to win it two years in a row.
However, the dedicated triathlete has continued to represent Australia on the world stage.
The incredible contribution of Llewellyn Motors was also recognised with the Ipswich company awarded the Corporate Sponsor of the Year award.
Llewellyn Motors supports many sporting organisations, including the Ipswich Hockey Association, Ipswich Jets, Ipswich Cats, St Peter Claver College, Ipswich Grammar School, West Moreton Anglican College, Ipswich Girls' Grammar School, Laidley Cricket Club and Minden State School sport.
It is ongoing backing from sponsors like Llewellyn Motors that help keep regional sport vibrant and progressive.
2015/16 City of Ipswich Sports award winners.
The Queensland Times Senior Sportsperson of the Year: Leah Neale (swimming).
The Queensland Times Junior Sportsperson of the Year: Enrique Berrios (karate).
Sports Excellence of the Year: Louis Dobbelaar (golf), Archie Graham (tennis).
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).
Lifetime Achievement Award: Bronis Carkeet (Ipswich West Moreton Cricket Association).