A career best year for Bunbury triathlete Ryan Bailie was capped off last night when he was named the 2016 South Western Times AJ “Tood” Buswell Sports Star of the Year.
Bailie was voted by an expert panel of judges as the region’s premier athlete, beating 11 other quality finalists for the annual sports award.
The 26-year-old had a 2016 to remember, competing in his first Olympic Games, where he placed 10th in the triathlon in Rio de Janeiro after coming from 21st after the swimming leg.
Bailie finished a career-high sixth in the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series, achieving a fourth place in the Gold Coast round.
Bailie was not able to attend last night’s ceremony because he is in Canberra training at the Australian Institute of Sport ahead of next month’s Super League Triathlon on Hamilton Island.
The triathlete became interested in the sport when he was seven years old and gave up a fledging AFL career when he was told to “bulk up” to play colts for South Bunbury.
Ryan’s mother Kerry said her son was successful because of his passion.
“It is three sports that you have to be good at,” she said.
“And if you do not love it, you wont do it. Now he has had a taste of success, he wants more.”
Other finalists were footballers Connor Blakely and Jace Cormack, Olympians Alexandra Hagan and Lauren Reynolds, Paralympians Sharon Jarvis and Brad Scott, cricketer Murray Goodwin, sprintcar driver Brad Maiolo, boxer Nathaniel May, jockey Lucy Warwick and 2015 sport star Josh Risdon.