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Olympic finalist Anthony Dean and teenage prodigy Saya Sakakibara have been named the 2017 BMX Australia sportspeople of the year at the annual awards dinner in Brisbane overnight. The duo claimed the top shelf awards…

Olympic finalist Anthony Dean and teenage prodigy Saya Sakakibara have been named the 2017 BMX Australia sportspeople of the year at the annual awards dinner in Brisbane overnight.

The duo claimed the top shelf awards on a night when fellow riders Brad Game and Sara Jones were recognised as the emerging athletes of the year, while the coach of the year awards went to Troy Fisher of NSW and Rebekkah Chiam of the Northern Territory.

For Dean the award comes after a breakout 12 months, where he returned from a broken collarbone to win his first professional BMX race in the USA in June 2016. That victory paved the way for the South Australian to race himself into the Olympic final on debut in Rio.

“I am honoured to win the BMX Australia Sportsperson of the Year award,” Dean beamed.

“Never before have I had this sort of recognition for my career so far, and I am very grateful to have been selected. Especially when so many other guys have also had great performances recently.

“I’m looking forward to representing Australia as I race around the world this year, and a big thanks to everyone that supports me.”

Saya Sakakibara talks about being named Female Sportsperson of the Year

Meanwhile youngster Sakakibara was truly stunned as she accepted her award from BMXA CEO Martin Shaw, perhaps her first unexpected victory on Australian soil in some time.

Rewind to May 2016, and Sakakibara and endured a difficult UCI BMX World Championships where a pair of crashes ruled her out of race action. Despite the setback the high-school student made her UCI BMX Supercross World Cup debut in October at just 17-years-old, and raced to second place behind 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Laura Smulders.

“It’s crazy to have received this, I don’t know much about this award because I just didn’t expect it,” Sakakibara said.

“But upon learning more, it’s very cool to win this. I am just out there riding and training and doing what I love, so to have people recognise my efforts, it’s pretty awesome.”

Also recognised were fellow riders Jones and Game who received the ‘Emerging Athlete of the Year’ awards. Jones, a long time adversary of Sakakibara, finished second in the junior elite women’s standings in year’s BMXA National Series. She also claimed her first win in Cairns.

Meanwhile Western Australia’s Game was recognised for a strong year in the elite men’s class in the National Series, where a second place in round one set him up for a top five finish in the ultra-competitive series.

Other wards went to South Australia’s Cathy Rosa and Queensland’s Ray Gough who were named as officials of the year. The top three riders in all classes from the National Series also received awards.

Kiwi Cailen Calkin speaks candidly about his gratitude at being accepted into the BMXA National Series so openly

AWARD WINNERS, FULL LIST

Sportsperson of the Year

Male – Anthony Dean

Female – Saya Sakakibara

Emerging Athlete of the Year

Male – Brad Game

Female – Sara Jones

Official of the Year

Male – Ray Gough

Female – Cathy Rosa

Coach of the Year

Male – Troy Fisher

Female – Rebekkah Chiam

National Series – Elite Men’s Standings

1st – Matthew Juster

2nd – Kai Sakakibara

3rd – Joshua McLean

National Series – Elite Women’s Standings

1st – Leanna Curtis

2nd – Tyler-Lea Thorley

3rd – Sarah Harvey

National Series – Junior Elite Men’s Standings

1st – Izaac Kennedy

2nd – Matt Krasevskis

3rd – Kyle Green

National Series – Junior Elite Women’s Standings

1st – Saya Sakakibara

2nd – Sara Jones

3rd – Erin Lockwood

National Series – 16 Men’s Standings

1st – Cailen Calkin (NZ)

2nd – Wade Mundie

3rd – Alexander Sheppard

National Series – 16 Women’s Standings

1st – Molly McGill

2nd – Lorsyn Affoo

3rd – Leah Hearne

National Series – 15 Men’s Standings

1st – Corey Taylor

2nd – Oliver Moran

3rd – Jack Davis

National Series – 15 Women’s Standings

1st – Des’Ree Barnes

2nd – Phoebe Wallen

3rd – Kiana Botfield

National Series – 14 Men’s Standings

1st – Buddha Baum

2nd – Jesse Asmus

3rd – Ethan Zrna

 National Series – 14 Women’s Standings

1st – Paige Harding

2nd – Shannon Petre

3rd – Rayna Anesbury

National Series – 30+ Masters

1st – Luke Marsh

2nd – Luke Barnes

3rd – Paul Drury

National Series – 17+ Women

1st – Aislynn Weber

2nd – Chelsea Boylan

3rd – Tenae Brooks

National Series – 17-29 Men

1st – Dirk Winter

2nd – Levi Usher

3rd – Beau Pratt