Local winter sports athlete Sami Kennedy-Sim has capped off a remarkable year in the sporting arena by claiming the Ian Thorpe OAM Outstanding Achievement award at the New South Wales Institute of Sport Awards held at the Australian Turf Club recently.
Kennedy-Sim held out a stellar list of nominations including fellow winter sport athletes Scott Kneller, John Farrow and Holly Crawford and slalom canoeist Will Forsythe.
Despite having her 2014 Sochi Games campaign thrown into jeopardy, Kennedy-Sim returned three months after suffering an infarct stroke while recovering from a knee operation, to win bronze in the women's ski cross at the Mt Hotham leg of the 2013 Australia/New Zealand Cup.
Kennedy-Sim, who was not present on the night, said it had been a tumultuous 12 months but paid tribute to the great support of the NSWIS for getting her back on track on the road to Sochi 2014.
"I just like to say a big thank you for being nominated and winning this great award. To be acknowledged by the NSWIS for having such a tough year and to be back on track and heading to the Sochi Winter Olympics is really great," Kennedy-Sim said prior to leaving Australia.
"I'd like to congratulate all the other winners of awards and also to the nominees. Everyone works really hard and I know especially the winter sports crew, we're really pulling through to have a great year and a great Sochi Olympics.
"So again a big thanks to the NSWIS for all your support and particularly to John Marsden and Ferry Lee, you have been great."
Joining Kennedy-Sim in the winner's circle was swimming star James Magnussen, canoe slalom world champion Jessica Fox, Magnussen's long-time coach Brant Best and all-time great wheelchair athlete turned coach Louise Sauvage.
Magnussen was named ClubsNSW Male Athlete of the Year, Fox was crowned the Sydney City Toyota Female Athlete of the Year, whilst rower Erik Horrie claimed the Mizuno Most Memorable Moment prize.
The awards night, hosted by NSWIS Deputy Chairman Alan Jones, attracted some of the state's highest profile sportsmen and women and recognised athletes and coaches in a range of categories including academic excellence, career development, team and individual performances.
NSWIS CEO Charles Turner said Kennedy-Sim had thoroughly deserved her accolades and acknowledged all the award winners and nominees.
"What Sami has gone through and subsequently achieved in 2013 is nothing short of sensational and the reward for many months of hard work and sacrifice here at the NSWIS," Mr Turner said.
"The NSWIS and our partners are privileged to be able to support such high calibre athletes in their quest for excellence and we will continue to do so towards the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Tonight's other award winners, the rest of the nominees and indeed all of the NSWIS scholarship holders, coaches and support staff should be congratulated on a wonderful year and I wish them the best of luck in the future."