The 2022 finalists in the Victorian Sports Awards have been announced, following a record number of nominations.  Among the finalists are the Special Olympics Team Victoria, the Blind Tennis Program and Southern Lights Ice Hockey.

In October, the Special Olympics National Games saw 750 athletes converge on Launceston to compete in nine sports across five days. Team Victoria sent the largest contingent with 208 athletes and 65 volunteers bringing home 106 gold, 90 silver and 81 bronze medals. Their performances have since helped select 20 Victorians to Team Australia for the 2023 Special Olympics World Games.

Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria (BSRV) engaged nine blind and vison impaired ambassadors to play a key role in increasing awareness and participation in blind tennis. A key focus was BSRV’s dedicated children’s blind tennis program which responded to declining participation numbers following COVID-19. As a result, 40 regular participants with vision loss were engaged as well as an additional 80 through metropolitan and regional come and try days.

Southern Lights Ice Hockey prioritises diversity and inclusion by specifically targeting the underrepresented LGBTIQ+ sporting community. Growing from a single team of 16 in 2018 to almost 120 people in 2022, most who identify as members of the LGBTIQ+ community. Southern Lights have influenced other clubs to run Pride Nights, including IceHQ which had 350 people attend, and help build relationships with other queer-run clubs outside of ice hockey.

Winners will be announced at a special event on June 7 at Marvel Stadium, Docklands.

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