Athletes and Volunteers Recognized

Sarnia, ON – Each year, ParaSport Ontario presents annual awards to recognize the outstanding achievements of ParaSport athletes and volunteers.  This year, ParaSport Ontario officially announced the winners of the 2010 ParaSport Ontario Male and Female Athletes of the Year, Coach of the Year and Ron Foster Award recipient at the 2011 Ontario ParaSport Summer Games in Sarnia .

ParaSport Ontario Executive Director, Eric Cartlidge and Sarnia Games Co-Chair Vicky Praill assisted with the presentation of these Annual Awards at the VIP Reception on August 19th.

Michael Broughton was presented with ParaSport Ontario Coach of the Year. Michael  started his career in wheelchair basketball as an athlete, and through great leadership and determination has become an outstanding coach. Michael assumed the role of Ontario Provincial Head Coach – Wheelchair Basketball last March. On top of being Ontario’s Provincial Coach, he was Assistant Coach with the Senior Women’s Team at the 2010 World Championships and was appointed as the Head Coach for the Women’s U25 National Team.

The next award presented was ParaSport Ontario Male Athlete of the Year which went to Rick Ball, an outstanding long distance runner and athlete. Currently ranked 1st on both national and international levels, in 2010 Rick set personal bests in the 10k, half marathon and marathon with times of 37 minutes, 1h20min and 2h57min respectively. Since proving himself as a top-level long distance runner, Rick is focusing on the shorter distances of 200 and 400m on the track in an effort to qualify for the 2011 Pan-Am Championships in Mexico and the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games in London. This past June, Rick set a personal best in the 400m at the 2011 Canadian Athletics Championships held in Calgary.

ParaSport Ontario Female Athlete of the Year went to Summer Mortimer.  Summer blew everyone out of the water as she won races and continually broke world records throughout the 2010 swim season. Starting off the season, Summer won 4 gold medals as well as a bronze and set three new world records in the S10 women’s back, 100 free and 200 IM, as well as being named to the Canadian Team to represent Canada at the Long Course World Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands. At these World Championships, Summer continued her winning ways with four gold medals and four new world records! Summer finished off her season at the 2010 Winter Can Am in Toronto where she won 6 more gold medals and set another 3 world records. Along with all her accomplishments, Summer is also acting as an athlete ambassador for the 2015 Toronto Para Pan Am Games.

ParaSport Ontario Team of the Year was awarded to the Ontario Trilliums. The Trilliums had tremendous success throughout the 2010 Canadian Goalball season, going undeafeated for the second consecutive season. The number 1 ranked Goalball team in Canada captured a gold medal at the Montreal Open Goalball Tournament, widely regarded as the most competitive tournament in North America. They later went on to capture their 3rd consecutive Canadian Goalball Championship at Nationals in Calgary, Alberta.

Presented with the Ron Foster Award, a prestigious volunteer award presented to those who have volunteered for minimum of 10 years, was Sigmund Bernat.  Sigmund has been an active volunteer in ParaSport activities since 1997 when he became the first Co-President of the London Blizzard. Since that time Sigmund’s involvement has been significant as a builder of sledge hockey, not just for his local club the London Blizzard but for sledge development and organizations across Ontario and Canada. Sigmund is also the co-Chair of Blizzard Invitational Sledge Hockey Tournament. This tournament has been running annually for 7 years and it is a premier sledge hockey event for teams of all competitive levels from across North America. Among his many achievements, Sigmund has been the Secretary of Ontario Sledge Hockey Association (OSHA) since 2006. In his executive role with the OSHA board he has been successful in moving sledge hockey forward in the province of Ontario and beyond. His skills and success at the local level have been translated to success with OSHA related to governance, league and sledge skill development, and relationship building across the province. Sigmund is currently the OSHA representative on the Canadian Sledge Advisory Board. In the summer of 2009 Sigmund travelled to Russia for 2 weeks to assist in providing direction on sledge development to the upstart Russian Sledge hockey program.

The Sarnia 2011 Ontario ParaSport Summer Games Organizing Committee Chair, Vicky Praill was presented with a Hosting Award in dedication of the countless hours she and her Organizing Committee put in to ensure everything was perfect for the Games participants.  Over 300 volunteers were involved in the organization of these Games which were a huge success.

Congratulations to all Award recipients and to Tourism Sarnia-Lambton for hosting a spectacular 2011 Ontario ParaSport Summer Games. For more information, please contact Matt Rhodes, Games/Communications Manager at 416.426.7030 or by email at