The Primary Club Of Australia is proud to announce that the recipient of this year’s Sir Roden Cutler Award is Liesl Tesch AM.
[Photos courtesy of Bada Bing Photography - www.badabingphotography.com.au
Liesl has dominated the international disability sports scene since 1990 when she was the first woman in the world to play wheelchair basketball professionally. More recently she completed at the London 2012 Paralympics winning gold sailing in the two person Keelboat - SKUD 18 Event.
When Liesl was 19 years of age she had a bicycle accident, being projected over the handlebars and falling two metres onto cement. The accident left Liesl as an incomplete paraplegic but has in no way hindered her passion for life.
Liesl has competed at six Paralympic Games including Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney (Silver Medal), Athens (Silver Medal) and Beijing (Bronze Medal) all in Wheelchair Basketball, and then London (Gold Medal) in Sailing.
In 2009, Liesl competed in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in The Sailors with Disabilities yacht, to finish 2nd in their division. In late 2010, Liesl paired with Beijing silver medallist Daniel Fitzgibbon. Sailing the two-person SKUD 18 class with Fitzgibbon, the team had immediate success, winning Gold at the ISAF Gold Cup in January 2011 and Bronze at the IFDS World Championships in July of that year. Determined, they continued on to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, winning Gold.
In 2014, Liesl was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Australia Day Honours “for significant service to sport as a Gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and through the promotion and facilitation of sport for people with disabilities”.
Liesl believes that all people with disabilities should have the opportunity to play sport and has combined her passion for travel and love of sport to take her far afield to create sporting opportunities for people with disabilities.
In Australia, she is passionate about raising awareness of and promoting wheelchair sport for young athletes with disabilities and volunteers to mentor, coach and inspire juniors in numerous regional venues and at the WS NSW Junior Wheelies Christmas Camp each year. Never one to focus on the negative, Liesl believes she has been given the opportunity to promote and encourage others to take an interest in wheelchair sports.
She has an enviable reputation for being a positive and generous team player, one to motivate and demonstrate great leadership amongst her peers and is heavily committed to giving back to the community – both in Australia and overseas.
The Primary Club are proud to present Liesl with the Sir Roden Cutler Award which is presented for outstanding sporting achievement by a person with a disability. The award includes a grant for sporting and recreational equipment up to the value of $20k to the organisation nominated by the recipient.
We congratulate Liesl on her award and will be presenting it to her at a Primary Club of Australia event in the near future.
RECIPIENT OF THE 2013 SIR RODEN CUTLER AWARD
The Award is named in honour of the longest-serving Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler (Governor from 1966 to 1981). Sir Roden was a keen sportsman, a distinguished diplomat and the winner of a Victoria Cross in the military. During the Battle of Damour in 1941, Lieutenant Roden Cutler suffered a serious injury and had his left leg amputated. As an amputee, Roden understood life’s challenges for all people with a disability, particularly those with a competitive spirit. He epitomises the mission of the Primary Club, and was appointed our first ever Twelfth Man and Patron, a role he held from 1974 until his passing in 2002.
The Sir Roden Cutler Award is presented for outstanding sporting achievement by a person with a disability, and includes a grant for sporting and recreational equipment up to the value of $20,000 to the organisation nominated by the recipient.
In 1999, the Primary Club presented its inaugural Sir Roden Cutler Award to blind marathon swimmer James Pittar. Winners of this award since 1999 include Zoltan Pegan (Yachting), Julie Higgins (Equestrian), Michael Milton (Skiing), Ben Felten (Adaptive Rowing), Jan Pike (Equestrian), Kurt Fearnley (Wheelchair Marathon), Brad Dubberley (Wheelchair Rugby) and Ame Barnbrooke (Sailing). Each of these past winners has represented their country at the highest level in their chosen sport.
Jessica Gallagher created history at the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver, becoming the first Australian woman to win a Winter Paralympic Games medal. To make this feat even more amazing was the fact that she had only spent 150 days on skis and was able to win it on her 24th birthday!
With guide Eric Bickerton, Jessica, who currently holds scholarships to both the Australian and Victorian Institutes of Sport, claimed bronze in the women’s vision-impaired Slalom, capping an amazing rise in the sport after joining the APC’s Alpine Skiing program following a career as a gifted track and field athlete.
In January 2011, she confirmed her status as one of Australia’s best athletes when she became the first Australian athlete in history to medal at a major international SUMMER AND WINTER championship when she won silver (Long Jump) and bronze (Javelin) medals at the 2011 IPC World Athletics Championships on her international athletics debut.
Aside from being the only Australian athlete concurrently representing Australia in a summer and winter sport, in 2009 Jessica completed her Masters of Osteopathy and is now a fully registered Osteopath working with elite athletes. She has recently been named the first Global Ambassador for Vision 2020, a World Health Organization/ Australian Government initiative for preventing avoidable blindness and vision loss. She is also an ambassador for the Australian Paralympic Committee, Vision Australia and 2XU. In 2010 she was named Australian Female Paralympian of the Year and received an Australian Institute of Sport Achievement Award.
The Primary Club is pleased to announce the Sir Roden Cutler Awardee for 2012/13 – JESSICA GALLAGHER.
Amethyst (Ame) Barnbrook’s story is a truly remarkable one. Born with Phocoamelia she has only the lower half of her left leg, a small foot and three toes, she has no arms or right leg. She uses her three toes for eating, writing, playing the trumpet and sailing. She has achieved more in her 22 years than most will in a lifetime.
Ame has excelled in music, and sailing and has a degree in Creative Arts from Wollongong University. Her current aim is to represent Australia at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. I her own words, “It’s about what I can do, not what I can’t do. My disability is continually judged before my abilities have been recognised and I like to prove people wrong.”
It is with great pleasure that we would like to announce that Ame will be our next Sir Roden Cutler Award winner.