It was a night full of recognition of sporting achievements and incredible moments, with several Commonwealth Games team members receiving awards at the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) Award of Excellence.
Notably, Jemima Montag (athletics), two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was the big winner of the evening, receiving the Performance Lifestyle Award as well as the Award of Excellence, etching her name into VIS history and becoming the first race walker to win the VIS Award of Excellence.
“The Victorian Institute of Sport family is so special to be a part of,” Montag said when she accepted her award.
“Thank you for celebrating my year with these awards tonight, I’m overflowing with gratitude.”
Other winners included Charli Petrov (diving), who received the Rising Star Award and Col Pearse (swimming), who was acknowledged as Para Athlete of the Year, both of whom won gold medals at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Liz Watson (netball), was awarded the Sara Tait Spirit Award, named in honour of the late Olympic rower in recognition of the athlete who most encompasses the spirit of the VIS, demonstrating courage, commitment and persistence to achieve their sporting goals, whilst showing the ability to inspire and bring out the best in others, engage with and bring pride to their community.
Watson, who led the Diamonds to be crowned the 2022 Commonwealth Games Champions in Birmingham, acknowledged the honour of receiving the Sara Tait Spirit Award.
“It’s very special to win this award,” Watson said.
“Sarah was such an amazing part of the VIS family and just to be recognised for my work this year, it does mean a lot and I feel really honored.”
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Additionally, Australian rowing legend James Tomkins and Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games gold and bronze medallist, was named the Frank Pyke Achievement Award winner. The award, named in honour of the inaugural Executive Director of the VIS, was awarded to Tomkins for his long and successful sporting career, as well for his significant contributions to the VIS and his sport.
Congratulations to all nominees and winners across the awards.
With thanks to the Victorian Institute of Sport.