Liesl Dorothy Tesch AM is an Australian wheelchair basketball player, sailor, and politician. She is a Labor Party member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing Gosford since the 2017 Gosford state by-election.
Liesl became an incomplete paraplegic after a mountain bike accident at the age of 19. She competed in her national wheelchair basketball team at five Paralympic Games, winning three medals, and was the first woman to play the sport professionally – in the European men’s leagues.
She took up sailing in 2010, winning gold medals at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Paralympics with partner Daniel Fitzgibbon.
Before entering politics, Liesl worked as a high school teacher. In 2010, she co-founded Sports Matters, a charity that uses sport to create societal change in developing countries. She lives with her partner, Mark, a boatbuilder, engineering teacher and frequent competitor in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The couple met while preparing for the competition in 2009.
In January 2014, Liesl was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (‘AM’) 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.
Later that year, she was nominated for, and won, the Primary Club’s prestigious Sir Roden Cutler Award for outstanding sporting achievement by a person with a disability.
In 2015, Liesl accepted President Jim Maxwell’s invitation to become an Ambassador for the Primary Club and attends special events when her diary permits.