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Gold Coast Force Futsal are awarded the MyGC & Hot Tomato People’s Choice Gold Coast Team of the Year

Gold Coast Sports Star Awards celebrate top athletes

Helen Stubbs | March 2020

Top Gold Coast athletes have been recognised for their outstanding achievements at the 52nd Gold Coast Sports Star Awards on Thursday 27 February, with stunning smiles and humble words. Five hundred athletes, supporters and sponsors attended the gala event run by Sports Gold Coast.

The awards highlighted how local sports stars shine against national and international competition. The Gold Coast is proud to be home to the World Sailor of the Year, Australia’s number one Futsal Team, reigning Para-Canoe World Champion and the Australian Iron Woman.

World class facilities, supportive communities, generous sponsorship, mild weather and supportive local government provide perfect conditions for sports training, drawing athletes from around the world.

Iron Woman Georgia Miller, originally from Sydney, won the City of Gold Coast Mayor’s Sports Award for her achievements in surf-lifesaving, including being crowned Australia’s Surf Sports Athlete of the Year for her clean-sweep of Australia’s biggest life saving events.

Miller took out the Coolangatta Gold, the Nutri-Grain Iron Woman Series and the Australian Iron Woman Title. As a member of the Australian team she won the race, ski race, iron woman and more at the 2019 World Titles. Miller says the Gold Coast is the hub of surf lifesaving.

“Surf lifesaving here is just so big and it’s such a community. I love being a part of it. Our coaches at BMD Northcliffe are incredible, definitely the best in the business. I’m so lucky to have them,” says Miller.

“I absolutely love running around Burleigh Headland. It’s so beautiful there. You feel like you’re in this paradise and then you turn up and you’re on the road and you’re at home.”

Mathew Belcher won Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year for his achievements in sailing. In 2019 Belcher won gold at the 470 European Title, the Hempel World Cup Series Final, and Enoshima, Japan.

“Last year Belcher was voted World Sailor of the Year. He’s definitely a medal chance,” says Southport Yacht Club Manager Brett James, accepting the award on Belcher’s behalf.

“When he’s home at the sailing club you’ll see the nine and 10-year-old kids sailing in their optimists – the little bathtubs – then you’ll see Mat out in the middle having fun and bumping boats with them.”

Role models like Belcher and nurturing communities have embedded sport in local culture. Young athletes are encouraged to have a go and shoot for gold.

Volunteers like Tanami Hill, who won Eximm Junior Volunteer of the Year, provide essential support. Hill’s efforts include setting up playing fields and umpiring, between playing her own matches for the Demonettes. She was selected for the rep squad and won the 2019 AFL Queensland Gold Coast Junior Club Person Award.

Anna-Louise Kassulke received the Daphne Priri MDE OA Spirit of Sport Medal for 30 years as trailblazer and CEO of Gold Coast Rec and Sport.

With Kassulke at the helm, GCRS provides over 260 programs a week for people with disabilities, from gym and fitness classes to stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, sailing, yoga, dance, performance and art classes.

At the very top of the field in para-sports, Curtis McGrath won Gold Coast Para-Sport Star of the Year for excellence at the highest levels of para-canoe competition.

McGrath’s long list of awards include Male Para-Athlete of the Year at the 2019 Australian Institute of Sport Performance Awards and also defending two World Titles at the 2019 Para-Canoe World Championships in Hungary, taking home his 10th World Title.

“I’m aiming for the Tokyo Para Olympics this year,” says McGrath.

“When we travel the world we’re following the summer. Here on the Gold Coast we don’t have to go anywhere to keep training,” says McGrath. “It’s a great place to train year round.”

Gold Coast Force Futsal was named MyGC & Hot Tomato People’s Choice Gold Coast Team of the Year after winning the recent Australian Titles.

“We train out of the brilliant courts at Carrara,” says team manager John Buick. “For us, this award’s about promoting futsal in Australia. We love our team, our coach and the atmosphere,” says Buick.

“Thirone Correia is our captain and he’s probably the best futsal player in Australia, though he wouldn’t say it. He’s from Brazil and they’re brought up playing futsal. We’re lucky to have him in our team as captain.”

Correia spends his spare time swimming the beach at Coolangatta. “I like to swim and try to surf,” says Correia with a chuckle. “It’s the best beach.”

Gold Coast Sports Star Award Winners:

  • Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year – Mathew Belcher, sailing
  • Gold Coast Para-Sport Star of the Year – Curtis McGrath, Para-Canoe
  • The City of Gold Coast Mayor’s Sports Award – Georgia Miller, Surf Lifesaving
  • MyGC & Hot Tomato People’s Choice Gold Coast Team of the Year – Gold Coast Force Futsal
  • Daphne Priri MDE OA Spirit of Sport Medal – Anna Louise Kassulke
  • Eximm Junior Volunteer of the Year – Tanami Hill

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