It was a big night for the Ottawa Lions at the 2015 Ottawa Sport Awards held Wednesday night at Algonquin College. Members of the club pulled in a combined seven awards including two of the majors – Female Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year.
Melissa Bishop took home the award for Female Athlete of the Year after a breakout 2015 season that included both a world championship silver medal and new Canadian record over 800m. Bishop, who became the first female Lion to be named athlete of the year, also took home the top athlete award for athletics.
After re-taking the reigns of Canada’s men’s 4x100m relay team last summer, coach Glenroy Gilbert helped lead the quartet to world championship bronze. For his efforts, Gilbert was recognized as Ottawa’s Coach of the Year. This was Glenroy’s third coach of the year nod, having won previously in 2013 and 2008.
While Paralympian Jason Dunkerley was unsuccessful in his bid for a second Male Athlete of the Year award, the International Paralympic Committee World Championship medalist did take home the award for top Parasport athlete in Ottawa. Dunkerley and his guide Joshua Karanja were second in the T11 5000m at the world champions last fall. This was after a gold medal performance at the Para Pan Am Games in August.
Lions athletes also swept the two running awards with Claire Smith winning for cross country while Tommy DesBrisay was awarded for his exploits on the local road running scene. Claire, a freshman at Stanford University, was a winner for third year in a row following a provincial championship and two national team appointments including the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in China. Tommy is a repeat winner for road running after four 1st-place finishes, winning the Goode Run 10 km, the Nine Run Run half-marathon, the Chelsea Challenge 10 km and the Wakefield Moonlight Run 10 km. He finished a respectable 5th in the Disney Wine and Dine half-marathon and 34th in the Ottawa Race Week Marathon.
In addition, Lions Speed for Sport athlete Jonah Shaffer was acknowledged for his water skiing abilities. Some of his accolades included winning the Junior U.S. Masters Championships, the Junior U.S. Open Championships, placing 3rd at the Junior World Championships and being ranked 1st in the world in the U-18 Division.
Finally, the Ottawa Lions were also recognized for winning their 11th straight Athletics Ontario club championship as well as the Athletics Canada national club championship.