Gold Coast Kayaker Ken Wallace has been crowned Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year.
The former champion surf lifesaver and Beijing Olympics gold medallist paved the way for selection for the Rio Games with powerhouse performances throughout 2015.
He wasn’t able to attend Thursday’s presentation at the Mayor’s Lounge at Evandale, but sent relatives along in his absence. They were able to collect the award on his behalf.
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Para-triathlete Bill Chaffey also entered the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame.
He has just returned from Yokohama and was presented with the 2015 Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year for an Athlete With a Disability.
Tom Tate doing the honours. The Mayor said it was an honour to present this award to Bill, to recognise him as the city’s sports star of the year.
The five-time world champion is only the second person to receive the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame-initiated award after kayaker Curtis McGrath.
Bill said he has been referred by Triathlon Australia to the Australian Paralympic Committee for selection for the Rio Olympic Games.
The team will be officially named in July, but he is confident he will be an inclusion.
He was pretty humble saying “I’m just out there racing and trying to win races as much as I possibly can but to be recognised by the whole Gold Coast as the athlete of the year for the Gold Coast, it’s an honour”.
He said “I’ve been racing on the world stage since 2009, I’ve won five world championships since then so I’m pretty confident”.
He said he’s conpeted in a couple of half marathons over the years and has even run into big name competitor Kurt Fearnley.
Bill explained that “many years ago when the wheelchair guys only did the half marathon I raced against Kurt, that’s when I was just starting, and of course he beat me by a fair bit”.
“But Kurt’s a nice guy and he’s saying the Gold Coast could be his swan song, so hopefully it goes well for him” he finished.