Newcastle sports star Lauren Parker has been recognised for her incredible courage and perseverance after receiving the Ian Thorpe OAM Outstanding Achievement Award, presented by Ryde Toyota, at the 2018 NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) Awards.
The former triathlete, who suffered a horrendous training accident in April of 2017, completed an inspiring comeback to competitive sport by competing in the para triathlon event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, taking home the bronze medal.
Not finished there, the 29-year-old went on to claim another bronze at the 2018 World Championships, despite undergoing further spinal surgery during her preparations.
Upon accepting the award, Parker reflected what was a challenging but rewarding 12 months.
"It was a very, very tough journey getting back to sport, I never thought I’d be back competing", said Parker. "It all comes back to the support that I’ve received which has been absolutely amazing."
"Competing at the Commonwealth Games within 12 months of my accident, I would have never thought possible."
NSWIS CEO Kevin Thompson paid tribute to Parker’s courage and determination
"Lauren’s inspiring list of achievements over the past 12 months began well before her competitive events”, he said.
“She has shown unbelievable courage to not only overcome her accident but to find new motivation and achieve so highly on the international stage. The entire NSW and Australian sporting community are so proud of her accomplishments.”
Parker was one of nine award winners presented at the gala event held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday night. The full list of award recipients can be viewed at nswis.com.au.