Rio bound triathlete Ryan Bailie has tonight capped the biggest weekend of his career, winning the Best Male Athlete and the coveted Athlete’s Athlete of the Year Awards at the 2016 Triathlon Australia Celebration of Champions Dinner on the Gold Coast.
Saturday saw the South African-born Bailie capture Australia’s second automatic nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee for this year’s Olympic Games with his fourth-place finish in the second race of the World Triathlon Series.
Photo: Delly Carr
His top ten finish earned him the final automatic opportunity to join training partner and close friend Aaron Royle on the nomination list to the AOC.
Bailie moved to Bunbury in WA with his family at the age of six and eventually developed his love-affair with triathlon before moving to Wollongong to link up with coach Jamie Turner who was tonight named the High Performance Coach of the Year.
Turner will be the first to admit that Bailie is a deserving winner who has worked tirelessly every year to become one of the most consistent male triathletes in the world.
In 2015 Bailie finished sixth on the ITU WTS Rankings after five Top Ten finishes and following his break through season in 2014 where he was ninth on the Rankings and represented Australia at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games – running the team into the bronze medal position.
And after surviving what looked like a horror crash on the bike which ruined any chance of a Top Ten finish in the Rio Rest Event, Bailie continued to be a force on the WTS circuit, reinforcing his abilities and attitude to realise a childhood dream of one day becoming an Olympian.
A dream that came true on the Gold Coast on Saturday when he produced a fighting fourth to the inform Spaniard Mario Mola to seal his place alongside Royle.
His Male Athlete Award came ahead of other nominees Royle, Luke McKenzie and Jacob Birtwhistle, who was named the prestigious Chris Hewitt Emerging Talent Award after a break through WTS Year and his courageous win in the ITU Under 23 world championship.
Royle was sixth in the Rio Test Event and Automatic Qualification for Rio Olympics; Birtwhistle won the under 23 ITU world title and McKenzie won the 1st Busselton Ironman, in the fastest ever Ironman in Australia (7:55.57)
And in the most sought after award of the year, Bailie was voted the Athletes Athlete – the award voted on by his peers ahead of other nominations, Royle, Gillian Backhouse, Jacob Birtwhistle, Liz Blatchford, Bill Chaffey, Katie Kelly, Luke McKenzie, Emma Moffatt and Sally Pilbeam.
Blatchford, who was third in the Hawaiian Ironman was awarded the Female Athlete of the Year ahead of Ashleigh Gentle (2nd in the Yokohama WTS) , Moffatt (3rd in the Yokohama WTS) and Backhouse (3rd in the WTS in Edmonton.
The Paratriathlete of the Year went to five-time ITU World Champion Bill Chaffey who won a tightly contested vote ahead of fellow ITU World Champions Katie Kelly and Sally Pilbeam.
In another outstanding year Chaffey was 1st in the 2015 World Championships in Chicago; 1st in the Sunshine Coast WPE; 1st in the London WPE and 1st in the Rio WPE and Paralympic Test Event
OTHER MAJOR AWARDS WERE:
High Performance Coach of the Year:
Age Group Coaches of the Year:
Corey Bacon (ACT) and Ross Pedlow (WA)
Rob George Technical Award Winners
John Ison Technical Official Award
LEGENDS OF THE SPORT
SERVICES TO THE SPORT
2015 WORLD CHAMPIONS:
AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR TRIATHLON SERIES
1st Sophie MALOWIECKI
2nd Jessica CLAXTON
3rd Ellie HOITINK
1st Matthew HAUSER
2nd Liam McCOACH
3rd Kye WYLDE
AUSTRALIAN YOUTH TRIATHLON SERIES
1st Charlotte Derbyshire
2nd Keely Whittaker
3rd Abby Ouwendyk
1st Dylan McCullough
2nd Lachlan Sosinski
3rd Samuel Tierney