Victoria, BC (ISN) –  The winners of the 4th Celebration of Women in Sport awards were announced today at a gala brunch at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE).

The awards – which had four categories, Athlete, Coach, Sport Builder and Volunteer – honour women’s achievement in sport on Vancouver Island.

Athlete of the Year is Karen March. A former high performance athlete on the National Athletics Team and who represented Canada at the World Championships and Paralympic Games in 2004, Karen retired from athletics to take up handcycling. She is the first women in BC ever to make the national team for paracyling, and in 2011 Karen achieved a podium performance at every single event she entered. Selection for the Canadian Paracycling team to go to the Paralympics will be made in June. “Qualification takes into consideration your performance over the last year, and also your results in the World Cup events in Spain, Rome and in a pre-Paralympics event in London,” says Karen. The paracycling event in London is a 40-60k road race and a 20k time trial.

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Karen March (right) was Athlete of the Year.

Coach of the Year is Allison Dobb. A leader in Rowing Canada’s National Team Program for the past three years, Allison coaches elite male athletes, making her a pioneer amongst nationally renowned coaches. “I have always coached the men’s team and it is a challenge, but when I started I was always committed to being a coach first,” Allison said. Selection for London will be at the end of May and she will be hoping to lead the men’s heavyweight doubles to the Olympics.

Copy of coach - Allison DobbAllison Dobb (right) is Coach of the Year

Sport Builder of the Year is Linda Gilmour. An inspiring community builder, Linda created her own company, brought Kettlebell programs to the community and has implemented a variety of classes and workshops for girls, teens and has created the competitive Victoria Kettlebell Team Iron Belles.

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Linda Gilmour (right) receives the award for Sport Builder of the Year

Volunteer of the Year is Chantal Brodeur. Chantal volunteers countless hours with the Special Olympics and always goes above and beyond to support the organization and everyone involved. A mentor and great leader, Victoria Special Olympics benefits tremendously from Chantal’s tireless work and are very privileged to have her part of the team.

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Chantal Brodeur (right) receives the award for Volunteer of the Year. 

The gala also awarded the ProMOTION Plus Lifetime Achievement Award to Irene Schell, Event Manager with the BC Games Society. For the past thirteen years she has provided support and resources to community volunteers as they plan and stage the BC Summer Games. She also serves as the Technology Manager, overseeing the organization’s computer systems and custom software development.

The gala event featured two guest speakers. Three-time Paralympic Gold Medalist, Michelle Stilwell and 2011 World Cup Champion in Double Lightweight Women’s Rowing, Lindsay Jennerich.

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Lindsay Jennerich (left) and Michelle Stilwell (right) were guest speakers at the gala.