Bond University athletes Mat Belcher and Thomas Fraser-Holmes took home two of the top awards at the 2017 Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year awards.
Olympic dual medalist and six-time world champion sailor Mat Belcher took out the City of Gold Coast Mayor’s Sports Award. Mat graduated from Bond with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2009 and is currently studying a Master of Urban Development and Sustainability. Mat, who has twice been crowned Bond Sportsperson of the Year, is a member of the Bond Elite Sport Program (BESP) which provides support to rising athletes to balance their study and sporting ambitions, and is proudly sponsored by ADCO Constructions.
Dual Olympian and World Championship swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes is a relatively new addition to Bond University Swimming Club, having joined the squad to train under Head Coach Richard Scarce and Assistant Coach Kyle Samuelson late last year. Thomas took out the 1029 Hot Tomato Gold Coast Sports Star People’s Choice Award.
The winner of the major award last night – the Bond University Gold Coast Sports Star of the Year – was surf lifesaving ironman superstar, Shannon Eckstein, who also won the award in 2014. Eckstein celebrated yet another stellar year in 2016 winning the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series (his ninth), the Australian ironman title (his eighth) and the world ironman title (his sixth).
The 33-year-old outshone a glittering list of nine other finalists, including Bondy Mat, who showcased the amazing depth of sporting talent across the region.
The winners of the five other awards presented were:
- QT Gold Coast Sport Star of the Year Award - Athlete with a Disability: Curtis McGrath
- 7 News Gold Coast Daphne Pirie AO MBE Spirit of Sport Medal: Warren Young
- Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame Inductee: Duncan Free
- City of Gold Coast Mayor’s Sports Award: Mathew Belcher
- myGC Gold Coast Junior Sports Star of the Year Award: Tom Green
Bond University was a platinum sponsor of the black-tie awards, with the event attracting over 300 of the who’s who of Gold Coast Sport to the QT Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast Sport Star of the Year is awarded each year by the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame and dates back to 1968. However this year the awards, for performances throughout 2016, were hosted by new entity, Sports Gold Coast.
Sports Gold Coast CEO Brett Richardson was rapt with the awards night.
“This city is a major player in sport internationally and these awards are long overdue,” he said.
“We must have an event that not only celebrates what amazing sportspeople we have here but also showcases, and reminds everyone, what we offer as a sports destination.
“Sports Gold Coast is all about bringing together all levels of sport, corporate Gold Coast and the various tiers of government. Tonight is an example of what occurs when that happens.”
Bond University Executive Director of Sport, Garry Nucifora said Bond’s sponsorship of the event further entrenched its reputation as a leader in sports education and champion of elite outcomes and research in professional sport.
“At Bond, sport is part of our DNA. We have a strong history of nurturing Olympic and Paralympic sporting champions and elite athletes across a range of sports, including a number of Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame Inductees and past Sports Stars of the Year.
“It was great to see two of the evening’s top awards go to Bond athletes, Mat Belcher and Thomas Fraser-Holmes, and we were very proud to be part of an event that recognises the incredible calibre of home grown sporting talent we have here on the Gold Coast.”