BCWSA congratulates four members of our community who were honoured at the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association Awards night for their incredible contributions to the wheelchair sports community.
Female Athlete of the Year: Sarah Hunter
Sarah Hunter recently returned to the international stage in wheelchair tennis after spending a year rehabbing an injury. This year, she’s won 5 international titles. On the ITF Tour, she placed in 19 quarter finals, 7 semi-finals and 5 finals, and is now ranked #6 in the world in singles and #3 in the world in Doubles, making her the top-ranked Canadian. She’s also a passionate athlete mentor who regularly takes part in BCWSA and BTG events.
CWSA Volunteer of the Year: Gerry Kripps
As a volunteer photographer, Gerry Kripps has spent hundreds of hours documenting wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis at all levels, producing thousands of photographs. Gerry allows us to acquire high-quality images of events that BCWSA would never be able to afford a professional photographer to document. His amazing photographs have been used on websites, in press releases, in the media, in grant applications, on social media, in brochures and on pop-up banners and no much more. In essence, Gerry allows us to showcase our success and promote our sport to others, and we're so pleased he was recognized for his achievements.
Dr. Robert W. Jackson Award winner: Joe Higgins
Joe Higgins is a passionate coach, mentor, community champion and builder of wheelchair basketball. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone more passionate about wheelchair basketball than Joe. For over 30 years, he's been a tireless motivating force from the grassroots to the high-performance level. He's willing to do whatever it takes to grow the sport, whether it's driving a new athlete to practice, creating a partnership with another organization, or equipping provincial and national team athletes with the skills they need to take their game to the next level. The partnerships, sports festivals, and other unique initiatives like the Kelowna Wheelchair Basketball Jamboree have been instrumental in providing more competitive opportunities to athletes of all levels.
Stan Stronge Award (for an athlete with a sense of fair play and dedication to excellence): Byron Green
Wheelchair rugby athlete Byron Green recently experienced success on the international level when he represented Canada at the Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Test Event and the 2013 Americas Zone Qualification Tournament. He is best known, however, for his friendly personality and his incredible dedication to the sport both on and off the court. He's the President of his rugby club, on the board of the BC Wheelchair Rugby Association, and he does it all while working as an engineer. Byron also collaborated with Duncan Campbell to create a wheelchair rugby skills program to give beginning athletes a strong start.