Alana Baldi has been recognised as the Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards Volunteer of the Year for the second year running.
As an active member of the Goulburn Valley sporting community, it was Ms Baldi’s commitment and passion for helping others in the sporting ventures of cricket, football and an involvement with the Special Olympics that earned her the prestigious award.
Ms Baldi coaches the Shepparton all-abilities cricket side, stemming from her experience assisting the Melbourne Renegades’ all-abilities team.
Ms Baldi has also travelled for the Special Olympics as a carer in past years and was also involved as a winter sport co-ordinator.
Ms Baldi hopes to change perceptions surrounding people with a disability.
‘‘Just because you have a disability, it shouldn’t define you or stop you from doing something,’’ Ms Baldi said.
‘‘It’s frustrating that society segregates people just because they are perceived as being different; they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and it doesn’t matter that they have a disability.
‘‘To see the looks on their faces when they win medals or hit a four or are soaring down the mountains on a snowboard, it’s nice to know you’re making a difference to someone’s life and hopefully inspiring other people to do the same.’’
Ms Baldi received the sports award at this year’s Shepparton Australia Day celebrations and carried the Queen’s Baton through the Goulburn Valley in February.
Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards chief executive Richard Amon said this year’s winners showcased the diverse nature of the disability sport and recreation sector.
‘‘One of the wonderful things about these awards is that we get to see the remarkable accomplishments of so many different people and organisations,’’ Mr Amon said.
‘‘It is the level of commitment and dedication to success whether that be through competition or by making sport and recreation a better, more inclusive space.’’