Athletes in line for Ballarat's top sports award

OUR track-and-field athletes’ stellar performances dominate the finalist shortlist for Ballarat Sportsperson of the Year.

World championship bronze medallist and world race walking challenge winner Jared Tallent had another impressive year and could be in line for his fifth – and fourth consecutive – top honour that will be named tonight at the Ballarat Sportsmen’s Club dinner.

Promising distance runner Duer Yoa, Oceanic half-marathon record-holder Collis Birmingham and world championship top-five javelin thrower Kathryn Mitchell are also strong athletics contenders.

Experienced professional cyclist Pat Shaw had another decorated year on the domestic circuit, while Commonwealth Games badminton hopeful Tara Pilven moved to a Scandinavian training base and has built form.

Australian full-contact Kyokushin Karate champion Shannyn Johnstone-Ward and Oceania under-93kg power-lifting champion Liam Belcher have also made a big sporting impact.

There is also plenty of talent coming through the city’s junior sporting ranks.

Nominees for the Wunhym Trophy, as Ballarat junior sportsperson of the year, include: national under-18 400m and 4x400m relay gold medallist Sam Baird, who was a semi-finalist in the IAAF World Youth Championships; Australian under-17 400m hurdles title-holder Nicholas Milton; and Australian Open tennis juniors competitor Zoe Hives. The BSC will also present the Hollioake Medallion for the team or team player of the year and the Mackenzie Award for sports administrator of the year.

Former Melbourne Golf Club captain Richard Allen – a golf administrator, player and author – is the keynote speaker.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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