The 2005 NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) annual awards dinner held at Sydney's Westin Hotel on Wednesday night crowned cyclist Ben Kersten (Kiama) the NSWIS/ClubsNSW Male Athlete of the Year, and fellow cyclist Kate Bates (Old Toongabbie) as NSWIS/NSW Tourism, Sport & Recreation Female Athlete of the Year.
Kate Bates was a stand out performer on the UCI Track Cycling World Cup circuit with three gold medals at a meet in Manchester. She went on to be crowned the World Cup Champion for the women's scratch race, and she also won two silvers and a bronze at the 2005 World Championships.
Currently in Manchester preparing for a World Cup, Bates was unable to accept the award in person with her parents collecting the trophy on her behalf. She won the award ahead of finalists Torah Bright (Winter Sports), Sophie Edington (Swimming), Nikki Garrett (Golf) and Amy Winters OAM (Athletes With Disabilities - Track & Field)
After the disappointment of the 2004 Olympic Games, Ben Kersten won one gold, one silver and two bronze on the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Circuit. He is the 2005 World Cup Champion for the Men's 1km Time Trial and placed fourth in the 1km Time Trial at the 2005 World Championships.
Kersten received the award ahead of fellow finalists Darren Bundock (Sailing), David Hall OAM (Wheelchair Tennis), Andrew Hoy OAM (Equestrian), Brad Kahlefeldt (Triathlon), Michael Milton OAM (Athletes With Disabilities - Alpine Skiing) and Joshua Ross (Track & Field).
A total of 13 awards were presented during the evening, recognising the achievements of NSWIS athletes, coaches and sporting programs. NSWIS Cycling Head Coach Gary Sutton (Sylvania) received the Telstra Coach of the Year award for the second year in a row, while Cycling was named Sydney Olympic Park Authority Program of the Year.
2005 has been a great year for Gary Sutton and his athletes. Not only were Kersten and Bates crowned World Cup champions, but Skye-Lee Armstrong won the women's Scratch race at the World Junior Track Cycling Championships and Stephen Wooldridge won a bronze medal at the 2005 World Senior Track Cycling Championships. NSWIS athletes also excelled at a number of European road races.
Over 600 people attended the evening, including the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Morris Iemma MP and the NSW Minister for Tourism, Sport & Recreation, the Hon Sandra Nori MP. Other VIPs attending the evening were NSWIS Deputy Chairman Alan Jones AO and a number of Olympians, Paralympians and World Champions including Bradley McGee, Stephen Wooldridge (cycling) and Jane Sachs (wheelchair basketball).