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Wednesday, 7 June 2006

Francis and Fraser - 2006 Telstra AWD Athletes of the Year

AIS Scholarship holders Heath Francis and Amanda Fraser have been named Male and Female AWD Athlete of the Year at the 2006 Telstra Athlete of the Year awards held in Melbourne. 

Francis and Fraser, both 24, were amongst many athletes who are judged on best performances and consistency of performances, both domestic and international, over the period from March 2005 to March 2006.

Heath Francis OAM, a Paralympic, Commonwealth and now World Champion competes in the T46 Class amputee, being a single above or below the arm amputee and has had a ‘golden year’, after claiming the 200m sprint at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Francis, trained by AIS and former Ukraine Paralympic Head Coach, Mrs Iryna Dvoskina, was ranked number one in the world after winning gold in the 200m and 400m at the 2005 German Nationals and then backing up to repeat his success and, more importantly, have a victory over rival Antonio Delfino-De-Silva at the 2005 IPC European Championships in Espoo, Finland.

Francis received his Order of Australia Medal in 2000 and has previously won the title of Junior Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year twice, in 1999 and then again in 2000.

Amanda Fraser, who competes in the F37 Class for Cerebal Palsy athletes and is trained by Alison O’Riordan, has also had an outstanding year. In February, Fraser set a world record for the F37 Discus of 29.93m, almost 2m more than the previous record set by Athens 2004 Olympic gold medallist, Chun Hua Li (China).

In May, Fraser won a silver medal in the F37 Shotput at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, England, along with a new PB (personal best) and new Australian record of 9.77m.

Multi-talented Fraser has only been competing in athletics since moving from the international swimming world in 2001 after winning Bronze at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

The Overall Winners were:

Telstra Overall Athlete of the Year – Male                   Craig Mottram (middle distance)

Telstra Overall Athlete of the Year – Female       Bronwyn Thompson (long jump)

Telstra Overall Athlete of the Year – Male AWD          Heath Francis (sprinting)

Telstra Overall Athlete of the Year – Female AWD     Amanda Fraser (discus)

Steve Moneghetti Emerging Athlete of the Year        John Steffersen (sprinting)

International Athlete of the Year                                 Craig Mottram (middle distance)

Asics Junior Athlete of the Year                                 Dani Samuels (discus)

Accor Volunteer of the Year                                       Ronda Jenkins

Overall Media Coverage Award                                 Scott Gullan (Herald Sun)

Media contact:
David Packwood, AIS Media Officer Phone: 02 62141476


Australian Sports Commission, Leverrier Cres, Bruce ACT 2617 PO Box 176, Belconnen ACT 2616 Telephone: +61 02 6214 1111 Facsimile: +61 02 6251 2680
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