Shaun Pianta crowned Collie’s sportsperson of the year

Darren O'Brien, An-ne Pelser, Shaun Pianta, Jamie Moloney and Brendon Retzlaff were all recognised at the Shire of Collie sport awards on Friday. Photo: Ashley Bolt
Darren O'Brien, An-ne Pelser, Shaun Pianta, Jamie Moloney and Brendon Retzlaff were all recognised at the Shire of Collie sport awards on Friday. Photo: Ashley Bolt

Shaun Pianta said he was ‘honoured’ to receive the JL Mumme Medal as Collie’s sportsperson of the year last week.

Pianta beat out 2016 winner Hayley Digney and bowls star Gary Keep to claim the award at the ceremony on Friday night.

“It’s an honour to win the award,” Pianta said.

“I’ve gotten a lot of support from friends and family in Collie, so to be able to share this with them is pretty special.”

Pianta, who lost 90 per cent of his eyesight while in Bali in 2008, became one of WA’s first ever winter paralympians when he competed in two alpine skiing events at the Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea this year.

I’ve gotten a lot of support from friends and family in Collie, so to be able to share this with them is pretty special

Shaun Pianta

Pianta said by competing at the games he had achieved a goal he had set for himself many years earlier while taking part in a disabled winter sports training camp in Perisher, NSW.

“After my first day skiing, I decided then and there that I was going to go to the Paralympics,” he said.

Pianta had a rocky lead-up to the games, tearing his ACL after a training run in Austria just two months before the opening ceremony.

However he managed to receive medical clearance to compete and finished 14th in the giant slalom with sighted-guide Jeremy O’Sullivan.

Eleven-year-old little athletics state champion An-ne Pelser was crowned Collie’s junior sportsperson of the year.

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After a strong season at the Collie River Valley Little Athletics Club, An-ne claimed five gold medals and the championship record in discus at the Bunbury Country Championships as well as the state championship in discus.

The Robinson-Hannan Volunteer of the Year award was won by Jamie Moloney for his work with the Collie Cycle Club coordinating the Tom Lowry Memorial Race and the Collie to Donnybrook and Return Cycle Classic.

Moloney said he was surprised to win the award ahead of a strong group of volunteers that had dedicated time to sport in Collie.

The ceremony also saw two more names added to the Wall of Champions on display at Roche Park, with former AFL and WAFL footballers Darren O’Brien and Brendon Retzlaff inducted into the prestigious group.