SPORTS STARS: Raylene Rasmussen, Dylan Barbeler and Anton Zafir, were the recipients of this year’s Australia Day sports-related awards.
SPORTS STARS: Raylene Rasmussen, Dylan Barbeler and Anton Zafir, were the recipients of this year’s Australia Day sports-related awards.

Sports stars awarded

THREE of the Whitsundays brightest sports stars have been recognised for their achievements with Australia Day awards.

The 2015 Senior Sports Award went to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) expert Anton Zafir.

Mr Zafir, who trains twice daily, seven days a week in boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian Jui Jitsu, wrestling, judo and kudo, is currently the Australian Nitro Welterweight Champion and has been selected to represent Australia in the World Kudo Championships. In the past year he has also achieved a Brown Belt in ICC Karate, Blue Belt in Jui Jitsu, Brown Belt in kudo and a White Belt in judo.

All of this success has been achieved from his small self-run martial arts gym in Airlie Beach.

Here, he has put in thousands of hours of repetitive training and built his reputation from hard work.

Aside from his personal achievements, Mr Zafir trains adults and young people, with a focus on the values martial arts has to offer, such as self-control, discipline and respect.

He has become an inspiration to many adults and children in the Whitsundays. This year's Junior Sports Award went to swimmer Dylan Barbeler.

Dylan excelled in this sport during 2014 as a result of hard work and commitment to achieving his goals.

He is a proud member of the Cannonvale Cannons Swimming Club and at Monday's presentation he was described as "very helpful, friendly, keen and energetic".

In June 2014, Dylan swam eighth in the 50m breaststroke final at the school nationals held in Melbourne and he was awarded a silver medal in the Queensland Relay Team for under-10s.

He also set a North Queensland record for the 50m breaststroke championships in a time of 40.3 seconds.

Raylene Rasmussen was the recipient of this year's Sports Administrator Award.

Ms Rasmussen has been a member of the Whitsunday Masters Swimming Club for about 20 years, volunteering her expertise in all areas of the sport.

She also assists with the Cannonvale Cannons and Whitsunday Swimming clubs.


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