Friday, November 10, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
James Grech, Hamish Wright, Kimberley Doyle and the Mackay Rowing Club emerged as the best in North Queensland, representing Mackay Regional Council at an illustrious dinner last weekend celebrating the best in sport for 2023.
The MECC came alive on Saturday night as hundreds of sporting heroes from across the state attended North Queensland’s premier sporting awards event.
A number of Mackay athletes, teams and volunteers took home top honours at the MM Electrical NQ Sportstar Awards, an annual awards event held at different regional towns each year.
James Grech won the Service to Sport award, Hamish Wright took out the Masters Sportstar of the Year, Volunteer of the Year was won by Kimberley Doyle and the Mackay Rowing Club took out the Senior Team of the year.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said he was excited to see such a large number of our sporting greats receive recognition.
“The last time these awards were held in the Mackay region was in 2012, so it was exciting to have the event return to Mackay for 2023,” Mayor Williamson said.
“Our region punches above its weight in sporting excellence and it was amazing to see our region win first or second place, for seven out of 11 categories on offer,” he said.
North Queensland Sports Foundation CEO Stephen Farrell said it was an unforgettable evening of celebration, recognition and inspiration.
“The event was a resounding success, with emcee Glen “Minty” Mintern and world class VIP guest speaker, Brooke Hanson OLY OAM keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats,” Mr Farrell said.
“The prestigious annual event brings together sporting enthusiasts, athletes and community leaders to honour and celebrate the region's exceptional sporting talent,” he said.
“The 2023 MM Electrical NQ Sportstar Awards serves as a platform to recognise and applaud outstanding achievements and dedication to sports.
“The winners and runners-up have demonstrated exceptional talent, dedication and contribution to their respective sports, and we applaud them for their achievements.
“This year's gala event also marked a significant milestone - the 40th anniversary of the NQ Sports Foundation, and the MECC was decorated to celebrate the occasion.
“The awards event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, partners and unwavering enthusiasm of the local sports community, which we deeply appreciate.”
Guest speaker Brooke Hanson OLY OAM, gold and silver Olympic swimmer and Order of Australia Medal recipient, shared her inspiring journey and insights from her illustrious career at the event. Her words resonated with the attendees, reminding everyone of the importance of dedication, perseverance and the pursuit of excellence in sports and life.
Mayor Greg Williamson also said one of the highlights of the evening was the induction of two distinguished Mackay individuals into the North Queensland Sports Foundation Hall of Fame.
“The honour went to Tracey Belbin and George Moore, both of whom have made invaluable contributions to the sports community,” Mayor Williamson said.
“Their dedication and outstanding achievements have left an indelible mark on the Mackay and North Queensland's sporting landscape,” he said.
> Senior Sportstar of the Year sponsored by Consolidated Engineering Plastics Products
Winner: Jake Doran, Townsville City Council Athletics
Runner up: Janee Emms, Baton Twirling, Mackay Regional Council
> Rural and Remote Senior Sportstar of the Year sponsored by Fitzroy Mining
Winner: James Lowe, Muay Thai, Charters Towers Regional Council
Runner up: Campbell Hodson Charters, Rodeo/ Team Roping, Charters Towers Regional Council
> Junior Sportstar of the Year sponsored by Anything Environmental
Winner: Ciara Storch, Boxing, Isaac Regional Council
Runner up: Monique Bobongie, Basketball, Mackay Regional Council
> Rural and Remote Junior Sportstar of the Year sponsored by Wilmar Sugar
Winner: Cade Ferguson, Rodeo, Cloncurry Shire Council
Runner up: Kiera Wiseman, Waterskiing, Burdekin Shire Council
> Athlete with a Disability sponsored by DGH Engineering
Winner: Samuel Le Feuvre, Athletics, Charters Towers Regional Council
Runner up: TJ Straw, Basketball and Powerlifting, Mackay Regional Council
> Masters Sportstar of the Year sponsored by City Fitness
Winner: Hamish Wright, Track Cycling, Mackay Regional Council
Runner up: Julie Dunn, Outrigging, Cairns Regional Council
> Senior Team sponsored by Mackay Regional Council
Winner: Mackay Rowing Club - Sculling mix quad double rowing, Mackay Regional Council
Runner up: Cooktown Underwater Hockey Team (Senior), Cook Shire Council
> Junior Team sponsored by Struddys
Winner: Cooktown Underwater Hockey Team (Junior), Cook Shire Council
Runner up: 11-12 Boys Northern Rugby League, Townsville City Council
> Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Queensland Hydro
Winner: Kimberly Doyle, Basketball, Powerlifting and Table Tennis, Mackay Regional Council
Runner up: Jack Baldwin, AFL, Mackay Regional Council
> Service to Sport sponsored by Struddys
Winner: James Grech, Track and Field (Athletics), Mackay Regional Council
Runner up: Joesph Pennisi, Rugby League, Hinchinbrook Shire Council
> Sporting Excellence sponsored by JMS Aquatics
Winner: Grace Grandcourt, IPSC Pistol Shooting, Mareeba Shire Council
Mackay’s winners and runner-up’s at the MM Electrical NQ Sportstar Awards. L-R (front): Jack Baldwin (AFL), Hamish Wright (track cycling), Councillor Laurence Bonaventura. L-R (back): Councillor Fran Mann, Mayor Greg Williamson, Kimberley Doyle (Special Olympics), TJ Straw (basketball and powerlifting), James Grech (athletics), Janee Emms (baton twirling), Therese Clancy (rowing), Councillor Belinda Hassan. Photo credit: Liz Andrews Photography
Hamish Wright, track cycling: Masters Sportstar of the Year sponsored by City Fitness
James Grech, athletics: Service to Sport sponsored by Struddys
Mackay Rowing Club, Sculling mix quad double rowing: Senior Team sponsored by Mackay Regional Council. Photos: Liz Andrews Photography