Next week’s WAIS Awards at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth
will see the Institute crown its top staff award, the WAIS Coach of the Year.
The Award is an open category prize, with all WAIS program
coaches eligible to receive the title which is presented on a criteria of
excellence that includes; assisting athlete performance targets, upholding WAIS
values and enriching WAIS operations.
The coaching staff at WAIS provide an instrumental role in
supporting and guiding WA’s high performance athletes in their goal to achieve sporting
success at the highest level.
The task of determining a winner in 2017 will be no easy
feat, with a series of outstanding contributions made by WAIS coaching staff
from across the three Performance Enhancement Teams.
In the Podium Team, swimming coaches Michael Palfery and
Will Scott have both supported athletes onto senior world championship teams,
which included medals for Brianna Throssell (coached by Palfery) and Holly
Barratt (coached by Scott) who were both members of the Australian women’s
medley relay squad.
Alex Parnov led senior athlete Liz Parnov to the 2017 IAAF
World Championships in London, as she made a representative return following an
injury cruelled 2016 campaign that saw her miss Olympic qualification with a
broken leg. The pole vault squad, supported by former elite athlete Paul
Burgess (assistant coach) has also continued to develop outstanding pathway
talent, with Stephen Clough competing at the World University Games and young
gun Sasha Zhoya earning nomination for the Junior Athlete of the Year, after
recording a world best height in the boys’ U16 age-group as part of a four
medal effort at the 2017 Junior Championships in Sydney.
There was similarly plenty of world championship
representation supported through the National Teams Programs at WAIS, which
houses Sailing, men’s and women’s Water Polo and Canoeing.
Belinda Stowell helped Nia Jerwood and Monique De Vries to a
470 Junior World Championship silver medal, whilst Zac Littlewood won an U17
world championship silver medal in the non-Olympic laser radial class.
Paul Oberman sent six athletes to the FINA World
Championships in Budapest and was himself an assistant with the national
program, whilst at the underpinning level, he supported a further five athletes
onto the Junior Australian World Championship team.
Georgina Kovacs had three athletes on the Australian
Stingers team in Budapest, whilst a further three members of Kovacs’ WAIS women’s
water polo squad travelled with the Junior World Championship team in Greece.
Ramon Andersson led members of his Canoeing Program onto
World Championship teams across U19, U23 and Senior International level.
The leadership within the WAIS National Programs sports also
met impressive targets in 2017 with Cycling coach Clay Worthington providing
four members of the Australian Junior Track Cycling World Championship team in
Italy, whilst Rhett Ayliffe coached the U23 World Championship silver medal pair
of Annabelle McIntyre and Bronwyn Cox.
The National Programs sports provide specific focus on developing
and nurturing elite young talent, capable of representing Australia at the
senior international level. In 2017 both Jeremy Davy’s women’s hockey and Chris
O’Reilly’s men’s hockey programs, as well as Matt Helm’s Diving Program, successfully
transitioned elite junior talent into the senior national system.
Influential Western Australian netball figure Michelle
Wilkins, ended her long and distinguished tenure with WAIS at the end of July, but
not before an outstanding closing chapter in which she led the Western Sting to
a drought breaking Australian Netball League title. Wilkins’ tutelage also assisted
Sophie Garbin in securing a playing contract with the NSW Swifts in the Super
The WAIS Coach of the Year will be presented at the WAIS
Awards night on Thursday November 16.