Article Written by Aaron Kirby | The West Australia
Para-athletics starlet Rhiannon Clarke and track cyclist veteran Matthew Richardson have been recognised for stellar 2023 campaigns, finalists in one of WA’s most prestigious sports awards.
The West Australian can reveal the pair are both finalists for the SportWest WA Sports Star of the Year award — alongside Minjee Lee, Min Woo Lee, Courtney Bruce, Jai Hindley, Matt Wearn, Annabelle McIntyre, Nina Kennedy and Mitch Marsh — which recognises the outstanding and highest achievement of an individual from Western Australia.
Previous winners include West Australian cricket legend Justin Langer (1999), acrobatic gymnast Lauren Mitchell (2010) and cyclist Ryan Bayley (2004).
Clarke set the tone for her year from the gates, starring at the Australian Track and Field Championships in Brisbane.
She became the first Australian woman in history, able-bodied or para-athlete, to win three Open Women’s titles at a single Australian Championships.
Clarke collected the Australian title in the Ambulant 100m, 200m and 400m, fast-tracking her way to the World Para Athletics Championship in Paris.
The 21-year-old made every final in her three events, and while she didn’t quite reach the top of the podium in the 100m and 200m, she smashed an Australian record to finish fourth in the 100m.
However, a second wind on the final day of competition earned Clarke silver in a new Australian and Oceanic record time of 1:02.36 in the 400m.
Richardson left a trail of gold in velodromes around the globe in 2023, more than living up to his World No.1 status in Elite Men’s Keirin.
Triumphs in Jakarta and Milton were followed by more wins in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and then in London.
He finished second in the Men’s Keirin UCI World Championships and took silver as part of the Men’s Team Sprint at the same World Championships.
Richardson collected a number of Champions League wins as well as took out the 2023 Oceania Track Championships Men Elite Sprint title.
The 2023 WA Sport Awards will be presented on Thursday, 29 February 2024 at HBF Stadium. Tickets are on sale now, purchase your ticket HERE.
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