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Congratulations to the 2017 Sports Awards Winners

Congratulations to the 2017 Sports Awards Winners

20 July 2017

The Greater Dandenong Sports Awards recognise the exceptional contribution made by local clubs, teams and individuals, whose outstanding work has made a positive contribution to the Greater Dandenong sporting community in areas such as enhancing performance, improvement, engaging disaffected youth through sport and inclusive engagement of all groups within our community to increase participation.

Congratulations to our 2017 winners. Read about their achievements below.

Project of the Year
Joint winner - The Big Issue - Community Street Soccer Program Dandenong

The Big Issue Street Soccer

Now in its ninth year, the Community Street Soccer Program (CSSP) in Dandenong, lead by head coach and coordinator Stuart McGown, uses sport to engage homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people. The program uses sport to break down the barriers between people of all backgrounds, gender and age. It also helps deliver valuable health outcomes by creating an inclusive environment and connecting participants with other support services. The Dandenong program has had 908 players attend over the past 12 months, and has one of the largest weekly attendances across the Community Street Soccer Program's 18 national programs.

The Dandenong program partners with agencies including Headspace, MOIRA, Centre for Multicultural Youth and Orygen youth services, to help participants deal with issues relating to mental health, social isolation, or drug and alcohol abuse. CSSP gives the opportunity for players to be able to come together in a safe, supportive environment which is based around the sporting principals of teamwork, fair play, sportsmanship and promoting health.

All Abilities Award
Winner: Sandown Cobras All Abilities Sports Club

The Sandown Cobras All Ability sports club works to support children and youth to participate in local sport. The club holds special sports days for all abilities children annually, has an all abilities football team and this year started a basketball team and an all ability Auskick group.

Members of the club are strong community role models, and provide a fun and engaging environment where all abilities children can come and try a range of sports..

Team of the Year
Joint Winners: Dandenong Rangers South East Australian Basketball League Women's Team and Dandenong Angels Baseball A-Grade Team

The Dandenong Rangers competed in the 2016 SEABL Season, where they won the East Conference Championship and then went on to win the SEABL National Championship. This National Championship victory was the Rangers 5th championship in six seasons, an absolutely outstanding achievement from a team predominantly made up of local Dandenong players who started out at junior domestic level.

The players always compete in a fair manner and are great role models for all the junior basketballers at the Dandenong Basketball Association.

The Dandenong Angels “A Grade” team is the Dandenong Baseball Clubs highest team (one of 6 teams) and competes in the A Grade competition of the Dandenong Baseball Association Winter competition. The team won the premiership in the 2016 winter season. This was the club’s first A Grade premiership since its first premiership in 1964.

They competed with a side that combined a mixture of experienced players and as well as a number of our up and coming junior players. The team was unique as it contained a number of junior players, aged 16-18 years, who were elevated to the A Grade team for the first time.

Athletes of the Year
Winner Junior Athlete of the Year: Yash Pednekar - North Dandenong Cricket Club
Winner Male Athlete of the Year: Nilesh Vaheesan - Dandenong Springvale Athletics Club
Winner Female Athlete of the Year: No nominations received

Yash Pednekar has been part of North Dandenong Cricket Club since the age of four and is captain of the Under 15 team. This year his on field performance earned him the Dandenong District Cricket Association (DDCA) Under 15 player of season 2016/2017 and he was selected for both the Vic School Boys and Australian Under 16 teams.

Yash’s character on and off the field has been exemplary, he has an inclusive nature and leads from the front. In the DDCA Junior Season Yash scored over 500 runs. Yash always shows great sportsmanship and an overall respect for the game. He is a leader within our organisation on and off the field.

Nilesh Vaheesan has made an exceptional contribution to Dandenong Springvale Athletic Club (DSA) in a number of ways. Nilesh started at this club in 2016 with a goal to win the State Track and Field Championships in the 110m hurdles. Nilesh is now the under 18 2017 State 110m hurdles champion.

NIlesh also entered the 400m hurdles at the State Track and Field Championships to push his endurance and hurdling ability. Nilesh flew into the finals, and placed second in the under 18 men’s 400m hurdles final running a 5sec PB to place. He also placed top 8 in Australia in the 110m hurdle event. Nilesh hasn't just accomplished goals he has climbed a mountain. His character is very humble, he takes each race as his last and keeps fighting to the end.

Coach of the Year
Joint Winners: Gulcan Koca – Dandenong City Soccer Club and Stuart McGown – The Big Issue Community Street Soccer Program

Gulcan Koca has coached the Dandenong City girls’ team for the past five years and is a great role model for the Dandenong City 15/16B girls’ team. She is a professional player with Melbourne Victory and Calder United, and is the Community Football Coordinator with Melbourne Victory. In 2014 she was named Football Federation Victoria’s female Coach of the Year.

Gulcan is a great asset to the club and does not pride herself on the on-field success of the team, but on the skill development and personal development of each and every girl.  She has connected and brought together a group of girls who have varied soccer skills, and are of different backgrounds, ethnic groups and religious beliefs. She has created a nurturing caring environment for her players.

Stuart McGown is one of the longest serving Community Street Soccer Head Coaches/Coordinators employed at The Big Issue in Australia. Stuart began in 2009 with a program struggling to maintain a regular attendance and now is Head Coach and Coordinator.

The primary focus of Stuarts program has been to support some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people within the Dandenong area. Through the sport of soccer Stuart and positively influenced players to improve their circumstances whether through their health, support structures, referrals to community agencies or simply by providing a safe and fun space to enjoy time with new friends. Stuarts is steadfastly focused on making social impact for his community

Sports Club of the Year
Winner: Dandenong Baseball Club

The Dandenong Baseball Club had a very successful 2016 season culminating in a number of teams competing in Grand Finals, including its first A Grade premiership in 52 years, an Under 17 premiership and the club winning the association Club Championship Award for on field success across all teams. In 2016, they had 4 senior teams compete in grand finals.

In 2016, they established a junior development program with the aim of building their junior numbers and have a team competing in every junior grade. The club set a goal to play hard, fair and achieve team and club success.
The Dandenong Baseball Club treats everyone equally and encourages diversity. They have a friendly and inclusive culture and ensure that people like being around the place and also have fun and make new friends.

Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Kelly Applebee - Dandenong Women's Cricket Club

Kelly Applebee has shown great dedication to the club since travelling weekly by train as a teenager from Bruthen to play about 16 years ago. "Apps" has been a tireless volunteer for quite some time at the Dandenong Women's Cricket Club (DWCC) and taken on almost every role at the Club, including player, Secretary, Junior Coordinator, First XI Captain, Coach (sometimes simultaneously), and is currently Club President. Kelly has also held numerous roles throughout cricket in general as a Vicspirit player and Captain, a member of the Melbourne Stars in the inaugural WBBL, chairperson of the Women's Premier Cricket Panel and is widely recognised as a respected figure in Victorian Cricket.

Her commitment to the sport is unquestionable and her positive attitude is infectious. Kelly has helped lead the change of equity and equality in women’s cricket. The members of DWCC are eternally grateful for Kelly's contributions both on and off the playing field.

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