The annual South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) Awards were held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday night, honouring the best in South Australian sport and SASI’s 40th anniversary.

The awards presented recognised SASI’s top athletes, staff and coaches across a range of categories, acknowledging their outstanding contributions and achievements over the past 12 months.

The winners included:

  • SASI Female Athlete of the Year – Jess Stenson (Athletics)
  • SASI Male Athlete of the Year – Kyle Chalmers (Swimming)
  • SASI Para Athlete of the Year – Kaitlyn Schurmann (Para-cycling)
  • SASI Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Lucy Austin (Netball)
  • SASI Junior Male Athlete of the Year – Maxwell Liebeknecht and Dylan Stanton (Cycling)
  • SASI Coach of the Year – Peter Bishop (Swimming)

There were many memorable moments from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games celebrated – Games at which South Australian athletes had an overwhelming amount of success contributing to 23 gold, 11 silver and 8 bronze medals, a total of 42 event medals in the overall Australian tally.

In a Commonwealth Games year which saw the return of international sporting competitions, there were also several individual sporting achievements highlighted throughout the night.

The Amy Gillett-Safe Award was presented to Commonwealth Games swimming gold medallist Madi Wilson – this is awarded annually as a memorial to one of SASI’s and Australia’s favourite sportswomen and recognises an athlete’s commitment to sport through passion and persistence.

Other award winners for the night included SASI sport program athletes of the year, and the SASI Service to Sport Award which went to Performance Analyst Tim Rawlins for his commitment to the SASI values of teamwork, excellence, courage and energy.

As part of the 40-year celebrations, SASI sporting legends Libby Kosmala, Val Beddoe, Matt Cowdrey and Annette Edmondson, plus inaugural SASI Director Mike Nunan and current SASI Director Wes Battams, shared stories about iconic SASI moments.

Quotes attributable to Katrine Hildyard

I wholeheartedly congratulate all award winners and nominees on their outstanding efforts this year and on their incredibly hard work and perseverance.

SASI athletes make a significant contribution to South Australia’s sporting success on the world stage, and they play a crucial role in promoting physical activity and health to all South Australians.

SASI athletes inspire our future sporting stars and are role models within our community; seeing these athletes in action is inspiring so many others to get involved, ‘have a go’ and enjoy the physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing benefits that doing so brings.

Congratulations to all at SASI who, for four decades, have supported, encouraged and empowered our South Australian athletes.

Quotes attributable to SASI Director Wes Battams

On SASI’s night of nights, it’s been fantastic to not only look back on what’s been an incredible 12 months, but also reflect on highlights from the past 40 years!

There are so many extraordinary people that have shaped SASI’s history throughout the past four decades; consistently working to enable South Australia’s elite athletes and coaches to become a greater force on both the national and international sporting stage.

I acknowledge and thank the staff, athletes and coaches that have been part of our journey and committed themselves to achieving sporting excellence.

Quotes attributable to SASI Female Athlete of the Year Jess Stenson

It’s a really special honour to have received the SASI Female Athlete of the Year Award.

Crossing the line and winning that gold medal was a dream come true but I know it wouldn’t have been possible without the input of so many and from the team at SASI.

I really want to thank you all for that special life experience.

Full list of 2022 SASI Awards winners:

  • SASI Female Athlete of the Year – Jess Stenson (Athletics)

Jess put in a herculean effort to bring home gold for Australia in the Women’s Marathon at the Commonwealth Games. After coming away with bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2018, it was a truly special moment when Jess stood on top of the podium.

  • SASI Male Athlete of the Year – Kyle Chalmers (Swimming)

At the FINA World Championships, Kyle swam an incredible second leg in the mixed 4x100 Freestyle Relay team to set the team up for a gold medal win, while also smashing the world record. At the Commonwealth Games, the 24-year-old put in powerful performances to come away with the gold and a Commonwealth Games record in the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay, two more golds in the individual men’s 100m freestyle and mixed 4x100 freestyle relay, and silver in the men’s 4x100 medley relay.

  • SASI Para Athlete of the Year – Kaitlyn Schurmann (Para-cycling)

Kaitlyn was impressive at the 2022 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships where she claimed silver in both the C1 time trial and C1 road race. The 23-year-old was also thrilled to win her first international gold medal at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in the C1 time trial.

  • SASI Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Lucy Austin (Netball)

Lucy made her debut for the Adelaide Thunderbirds this year and impressively picked up a fan-voted MVP Award. Following two years as a training partner with the club, the 20-year-old earnt her first Suncorp Super Netball contract, signing with the Adelaide Thunderbirds for 2023. In another huge coup, Lucy has also been selected to don the green and gold for Australia in the Fast5 World Series of netball.

  • SASI Junior Male Athlete of the Year – Maxwell Liebeknecht and Dylan Stanton (Cycling)

Max and Dylan have proven to be a dynamic duo on the cycling track this year taking out the top spot at the Junior National Championships and Junior Oceanias in the Team Sprint event. The highlight of their outstanding year came at the Junior World Championships, where they not only won gold in the Team Sprint but also achieved a new national junior record.

  • Amy Gillett-Safe Award – Madi Wilson (Swimming)

Madi Wilson was appointed as a member of the Australian swimming team’s leadership group earlier this year and she has continually shown what an incredible leader she is. At the FINA World Championships, she was an integral part of the Dolphins’ relay teams, winning gold and smashing a world record in the mixed 4x100 Freestyle Relay. She picked up another gold in the women’s 4x100 relay and snagged two silvers in the women’s 4x200 freestyle relay and mixed 4x100 medley relay. Madi then doubled her gold medal haul at the Commonwealth Games with wins in four relays, plus a world record in the women’s 4x200 freestyle relay. She runs coaching clinics for junior swimmers and has started her own clothing label.

She is also a strong advocate for her fellow athletes and supporting them through adversity.

  • SASI Coach of the Year – Peter Bishop (Swimming)

Peter is the coach of SASI Commonwealth Games athletes Kyle Chalmers, Madi Wilson, Meg Harris, Matt Temple and Zac Incerti who excelled at the Birmingham Games. Peter has acted as Head Coach of the SASI swimming program for several years and consistently provides an elite daily training environment for his athletes.

  • SASI Service to Sport Award – Tim Rawlins (Performance Analyst)

Tim was appointed to a national lead role in performance analysis with Swimming Australia this year. The work he carried out with the national governing body was a significant contributing factor to Australia’s exceptional performance at the Commonwealth Games and will continue to be vital for Australia’s medal chances at the upcoming Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and World Championships.

  • Program Athletes of the Year:
  • Beach Volleyball – Solomon Bushby
  • Canoe Sprint – Maguire Reid
  • Cycling – Wil Holmes
  • Diving – Shixin Li
  • Hockey – Fred Gray
  • Netball – Sophie Casey
  • Rowing – Ella Bramwell
  • Swimming – Meg Harris
  • Individual Athlete Program – Jess Stenson (Athletics)