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Diamonds shine and Pocock popular as AIS award winners revealed

23 February 2016

Australian Wallabies rugby union star David Pocock has been crowned the ABC Sports Personality of the Year and the Australian Diamonds netball team has collected two major trophies at the AIS Sport Performance Awards in Sydney.

Golfer Jason Day and swimmer Emily Seebohm were named male and female athletes of the year respectively, while Michelle Payne’s historic Melbourne Cup victory was determined as the best sporting moment of 2015.

More than 300 of Australia’s sporting personalities gathered at The Star in Sydney for the annual AIS Sport Performance Awards, or ASPAs. But Australian sporting fans had already cast thousands of votes to elect Pocock and the Diamonds as their big winners on the night.

Recognised for his humanitarian work off the field as well as his tenacity on it, the public voted Pocock as ABC Sports Personality of the Year.

The Diamonds, who won a third consecutive netball World Cup in 2015, were equally popular with voting fans and took out the Destination NSW Team of the Year.

As a measure of their dominance, the Diamonds also shared the Team of the Year award voted on by the AIS panel of judges.

The team award was shared with Australia’s Women’s team pursuit, who remarkably crushed the world record by almost three seconds at the 2015 track world championships.

Cycling was also represented by Alistair Donohoe, who was awarded Para Performance of the Year and shapes as a major gold medal chance at the Rio Paralympics this year.

Australian swimming also celebrated its resurgence on the international scene, receiving three awards across categories for athletes, coaching and administration.

Seebohm was recognised as female athlete of the year for her three gold medals at last year’s FINA swimming world championships, while coach Michael Bohl guided athletes to five gold, two silver and three bronze at the same event.

Swimming Australia chief executive Mark Anderson was given the Award for Leadership.

Former AIS basketball scholarship holder Ben Simmons, now starring in US college basketball and touted as an NBA star, was named Emerging Athlete of the Year.

AIS Director Matt Favier said the calibre of finalists and winners showed Australia’s high performance sporting system was healthy ahead of another huge year.

“These awards are a reminder that our Australian athletes are in fine form, especially approaching the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Australian Sports Commission and AIS are pleased with the progress in Australian sport and we remain committed to working with sports, athletes and key partners to ensure we can repeat this amazing success in 2016.”

AIS Sport Performance Awards winners

• David Pocock (ABC Sports Personality of the Year) – Public vote
• Australian Diamonds (Destination NSW Team of the Year) – Public vote
• Jason Day (2XU Male Athlete of the Year)
• Emily Seebohm (Berlei Female Athlete of the Year)
• Australian Diamonds, Women’s Team Pursuit, cycling (Gatorade Team of the Year)
• Michelle Payne (Lion, The Complete Dairy Sporting Moment of the Year) – Media vote
• Ben Simmons (Nestle Emerging Athlete of the Year)
• Alistair Donohoe (Dairy Australia Para Performance of the Year)
• Michael Bohl (Melbourne Business School Coach of the Year)
• Mark Anderson (Melbourne Business School Award for Leadership) 


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