Athletes in Excellence Award
The Athletes in Excellence Award from The Foundation for Global Sports Development recognizes exceptional athletes who uphold the values of good sportsmanship and fair play both on and off the field.
We believe in the importance of honoring athletes who use their achievements in sport as a catalyst to inspire positive change. Our athletes in excellence are acknowledged for their outstanding efforts in community outreach, humanitarianism and youth mentorship. As part of the award, recipients will receive a $10,000 grant, enabling them to pursue their passions and create even more positive change.
- Nominee must be at least 18 years of age.
- Nominee may be a citizen of any country.
- Nomination must include the following: Full Name of Athlete, Athlete’s contact info, including email address and phone number, Description of athlete’s community service, Outline of nominee’s athletic achievements, Photo of athlete, Contact information for person submitting the nomination
- Athletes may not nominate themselves.
- Individuals OR organizations may submit a nomination.
- Nominations may be sent to email@example.com
2019 Athletes in Excellence
Yunnior Almaraz (US Soccer Coach) As a coach for the Futbol Academy of SoCal (FASC), Yunnior dedicates himself to his community and its young people by serving as a coach and mentor to underserved youth from the Los Angeles area. FASC provides high level soccer training and competition to young people at no cost, with a focus on player development, good citizenship, and academic success. Nominated by LA84 Foundation.
Batoul Arnaout (Jordanian, Runner, Cyclist, Taekwondo Black Belt and Squash Player) A gifted female athlete in a country where sports are considered a male pursuit, Arnaout has excelled in multiple disciplines and represented Jordan in the Pan Arab games as a member of its National Squash Team, earning a silver medal. She founded BOOST in 2014 to create better opportunities for sports in Jordan and has helped over 1,000 athletes to date. Nominated by Mo’ath Alkhawaldeh.
Chris Barlow (US Olympian, Kayaking) A San Diego Fire Captain, Barlow founded the San Diego Canoe Kayak Team (SDCKT) in 1997 and has coached over 1,000 paddlers over the past 21 years. No one is turned away for ability or economic need. SDCKT teams have won National Championships at the U14, U16 and U18 levels. Nominated by Jennifer Hein, Board President San Diego Canoe Kayak Team.
Christopher Ricardo Dennis (Trinidad and Tobago, Former Pro Surfer) Eight-time Trinidadian National Champion, Dennis has coached and mentored surfing youth in Trinidad and Tobago to effect change in their lives. He founded Waves for Hope, a surf therapy program for at-risk youth. Chris was instrumental in ensuring T&T was represented at ISA’s world surfing championship, and in arranging equipment donations for its undeserved youth. Nominated by Manuela Giger.
Duane DeSoto (US Pro Surfer) World Long Board Champion from Oahu, Duane founded Nā Kama Kai, a program where children of all ethnic and economic backgrounds learn about ocean sports, responsibility for the environment, and leadership from culturally aware mentors, while receiving free tutoring and healthy food. Nominated by Sidewinder Films.
Stuart Krohn (US Collegiate All American, Rugby) After a 13-year global pro career, Krohn coached Dartmouth’s rugby team and eventually founded Inner City Educational Foundation (ICEF) Rugby in 2003, serving thousands of students in South Los Angeles annually. In addition to after school and PE programs, ICEF Rugby has 200 students – both male and female – playing competitive rugby. High school team players participate in international trips where they compete and live with host families. Academic and life skills are emphasized with an eye to college. Nominated by Shawn Lipman
Lucy Meyer (US Special Olympics Gold medalist, Swimming) National spokesperson for the Special Olympics and UNICEF USA partnership, Lucy works to highlight the power of sports to advance the rights of children with disabilities. She has traveled the world in her capacity as spokesperson, lobbied legislators on Capitol Hill, and presented at the UN. Lucy has spoken to over 12,000 students in over 50 schools around the country and has appeared online, in print and on TV promoting her message of changing lives through inclusion. Nominated by LA84 Foundation.
Adrianna ‘Dre’ Newkirk (US Powerlifter) A competitive powerlifter, certified coach, and personal trainer, Dre teaches nutrition and leads strength training sessions in Boston through Shooting Touch, an organization that uses sport to educate and empower at-risk youth, women and communities. In 2019 Dre joined a powerlifting outreach trip to Harare, Zimbabwe with Lift4Life, which empowers marginalized communities through strength training and the sport of powerlifting. Dre continues to support Lift4Life’s mission through fundraising, marketing, and maintaining relationships with powerlifters in Harare. Nominated by Erica Pernell.
Geison Adriano Rodrigues Santos (Brazilian Paralympic Runner) Geison volunteers with Rotary International and his own Champion Athletics program to include children and adolescents with disabilities and cancer in bicycle races powered by volunteer riders. A Brazilian UNICEF ambassador, Rodrigues Santos, also serves as a motivational speaker in underprivileged areas, promoting a drug-free lifestyle. Nominated by Kelsey Dick and Danielle Karla Silva.
Antonia Emanuelle “Manu” Abreu Motta is a volunteer coach and lead instructor at Row LA’s Erg Ed Program, reaching over 950 middle school students each year. Prior to that role, Manu taught rowing in Brazil for many years before coming to the U.S. in 2016.
Sunmaya Budha is a runner from Nepal who helps promote education in her rural community by raising funds and support for school supplies, books, furniture, school libraries, and computer labs. She also works with young women, empowering them through sports classes and teaching them about puberty. Sunmaya aids rural Nepalese community members by organizing free medical camps and hygiene and sanitation campaigns.
Jason Dunkerley is a Track and Field Paralympian who is the President of Achilles Ottawa, a support community for runners who have visual impairments. He also serves as a coach for the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club and on the Board of Director for the Ontario Blind Sports Association.
Rebecca Feickert is a former basketball player who founded “Trey Athletes,” a nonprofit which empowers student-athletes to achieve lifelong success. She has also served as a mentor with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
Sara Hall is a Marathon champion who founded “Hall Steps Foundation,” which raises funds to support orphan care and orphan prevention in Ethiopa. The foundation has made over $60,000 in grants to deserving organizations and has provided $100,000 in microlending for women.
Karin Korb is a Wheelchair Tennis Paralympian who is a wheelchair tennis instructor and an advocate for people with disabilities. Karin Korb is a Wheelchair Tennis Paralympian who is a wheelchair tennis instructor and an advocate for people with disabilities. She currently serves on the City of Birmingham’s Social Justice Committee as well as the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program’s PADD (Protection and Advocacy of Persons with Developmental Disabilities) Advisory Council.
Serena Limas is a basketball player and coach who was recently named “Coach of the Year” by Coaching Corps for her work as a volunteer coach at Ramona Gardens Boys & Girls Club. Serena has spoken at numerous events about the fulfilling role a coach has in making a difference in young players’ lives.
Tyler McGregor is a Sled Hockey Paralympian who volunteers with Classroom Champions to mentor youth, Childcan to raise funds for families who are facing childhood cancer, and Princess Margaret Hospital and Make-a-Wish Foundation to support youth facing cancer.
Nicola Paviglianiti is a Powerlifter who has taken the sport to Zimbabwe. Here she opened the first female gym in Harare, fundraised to take 3 Zimbabwean lifters to the Commonwealth Championship, founded “The Strength Gals” to provide inclusive and accessible strength coaching for females, and volunteers as Program Director for Lift4Life.
Anna Sloan is a Curling Olympian who represents the curling community by speaking at schools and special events about the sport, coaching 10-11 year olds, supporting Scotland’s “Try Curling” initiative, and serving as an Ambassador for Scottish Curling Future Leaders.
Mo’ath Alkhawaldeh (Marathon Runner) Focuses on using sport for peace building in the Middle East and North Africa. Mo’ath is an Ambassador for the Beirut Marathon Association. Nominated by Andrew Kastor and May El Khalil.
Bailey Bram (Ice Hockey) Athlete mentor for many groups, including Classroom Champions, Girls Hockey Calgary, Martha Billes Girls in Sport, Boys and Girls Club, and the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Center. Nominated by Classroom Champions.
Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt (Track Paralympian, Downhill Skiing) Member of multiple leadership groups, including the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Advisory Council, Team for Tomorrow, Disability Policy Action Working Group, and more. Nominated by Katy Sullivan.
Ron Freeman (Track Olympian) Founded the International Medalist Association, which uses sport as a way to enhance life skills for youth internationally, with a focus in Guinea. Nominated by U.S. Olympians and Paralympians Association.
Akeem Haynes (Track Olympian) Athlete mentor for Classroom Champions and working to create an initiative that will provide shoes for children in need. Nominated by Sam Effah.
Haley Hunter Smith (Mountain Biking) Mentors with Fast and Female and Cam’s Kids Foundation. She focuses on teaching youth about mental wellness, particularly in regards to anxiety and eating disorders. Nominated by Tavis Smith.
Hannah Macdougall (Cycling Athlete and Skiing Paralympian) Ambassador for Access for All Abilities, Just BU, Women Sport Australia, and Student Representative for La Trobe Sport Management Board. Nominated by Bernadette Sierkowski.
Markeith Price (Track and Field Paralympian) Runs the ICYou Foundation, created scholarships for the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, volunteers with Camp Abilities and Foundation for Fighting Blindness. Nominated by Lex Gillette.
Winter Vinecki (Aerial Skiing) Started the non-profit Team Winter, to raise money for research and awareness of prostate cancer. Focuses on teaching youth to “grit it out” and persevere. Nominated by Emily Cook.
Hannah Windell Lockwood (Rugby) Volunteers as a rugby coach for young women, helped start the first all-girls tackle program in San Diego, and mentors young girls through San Diego Girls Rugby! Nominated by Dallen Stanford.
Reynaldo Brown, Track and Field Olympian – Reynaldo has spent decades of his life volunteering with various organizations as a mentor and volunteer coach to young people all across southern California. Nominated by GSD staff members.
Victoria Burke, Rower – Victoria volunteers as a mentor with Girls RowLA, teaching the program participants about nutrition, college recruitment, rowing skills and more. She is currently training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Nominated by Liz Greenberger.
Anne Warner Cribbs, Swimming Olympian – After winning the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics, Anne went on to become a powerhouse in fostering the developing of positive sport in California and elsewhere. Nominated by The United States Olympians and Paralympians Association.
Sam Effah, Track and Field – A Rio 2016 hopeful, Sam volunteers as a mentor with Classroom Champions and as an Ambassador for Right to Play. Nominated by Giddeon Massie of Classroom Champions.
Santi Freixa, Field Hockey Olympian – Santi’s passion for field hockey is evident in his impressive career as well as his founding of “Stick for India,” an organization which brings field hockey to underserved youth in Anantapur, India. Nominated by the International Hockey Federation.
Lex Gillette, Track and Field Paralympian – Despite actively competing, Lex takes time from his busy training schedule to mentor youth in person and over video through Classroom Champions. Nominated by Jennifer Regruth of Margaret R. Brown Elementary School and Steve Mesler of Classroom Champions.
Sarah Hanffou, Table Tennis Olympian – Sarah’s long career with table tennis took a humanitarian shift in 2006 when she created the non-profit organization, “Ping sans Frontieres,” which seeks to develop table tennis in Africa. Nominated by the International Table Tennis Federation.
Angie Malone, Wheelchair Curling Paralympian – Angie has dedicated much of her career to introducing others to wheelchair curling and adaptive sport. She volunteers with Braehead Wheelchair Curling Club, serves as a “School Champion,” and is a patron with Ayrshire Sportsability. Nominated by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and the World Curling Federation.
Charly Neme Montoya, Wheelchair Rugby – Charly serves as a unique role model to youth in Colombia. In addition to working to include people with impairments in the world of sport, Charly mentors youth and shares his experiences as a past gang member to encourage young people to be drug free and to find positive conflict management resolution methods. He is currently training for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Nominated by the International Paralympic Committee.
Katy Sullivan, Track and Field Paralympian – Katy is a powerful role model for young people with impairments. As an athlete and prominent member of the Paralympic movement, she is a consistent advocate for inclusive sport. Nominated by Ready, Set, Gold!
Darrell Thompson, Retired Football Player – Darrell has dedicated over two decades to positive youth development. Starting as a mentor with Bolder Options, a youth development organization, Darrell transformed this organization into a pillar for youth in the Twin Cities area. Nominated by Tony Sanneh.
Tzipi Zipper, Wheelchair Curling – Tzipi sustained injuries while working as a security officer, and her injuries have led her to begin using a wheelchair. After she found wheelchair curling, Tzipi quickly became an advocate for people with impairments. She works tirelessly to raise awareness for programs and accessibility around the world. Nominated by Israeli Curling and the World Curling Federation.
Jeb Brovsky, Professional soccer player and founder of the Peace Pandemic Corp., which helps provide equipment for young soccer players in impoverished countries. Nominated by Benoit Labonte of Jebi Knights.
Candace Cable, Paralympian, advocate for people with disabilities, public speaker, former program director. Nominated by the U.S. Olympian and Paralympian Association.
Hannah Davis, Olympian, volunteer and student mentor. Nominated by David Foureur of Australian Canoeing.
Joe Delagrave, Paralympian, USOC athlete ambassador, participant on the USOC Paralympic Advisory Council, and mentor to new spinal cord injury patients. Nominated by April Delagrave
Tracy Evans, Olympian and founder of Kids Play International which uses sport as a catalyst to promote gender equality in communities impacted by genocide. Nominated by the U.S. Olympian and Paralympian Association.
Rafer Johnson, Olympian and founder of the California Special Olympics who is involved with multiple community outreach and humanitarian projects. Nominated by Anita DeFrantz.
Peter Karlsson, Olympian and Peace and Sport Program ambassador who is involved with the implementation of youth based table tennis programming in high-conflict areas including Columbia, East Timor, Burundi, and the Congo. Nominated by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Lao Khang, Member of Lao Women’s National Rugby Team, youth mentor and coach who leads rugby activities in rural, remote, and underserved communities. Nominated by Megan Knight.
Angela Madsen, Paralympian, Ready, Set, Gold volunteer and founder of California Adaptive Rowing Program which provides instruction and training in the sport of rowing to physically and intellectually challenged individuals. Nominated by the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG) Ready, Set, Gold Program administration.
Steve Mesler, Olympian and co-founder of Classroom Champions, a youth mentoring program that connects top performing athletes with students in high-need schools. Nominated by the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP).
Kieran Modra, Paralympian and mentor of visually impaired youth living in Australia. Nominated by Sylvia Modra.
Zahra Nemati, Paralympian and humanitarian who advocates for equality and often speaks publicly on the issue to groups, including the UN. Nominated by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Tony Sanneh, Major league soccer player and founder of The Sanneh Foundation which uses soccer as a catalyst to empower kids, improve lives and unite communities. Nominated by the USOC’s Athlete Advisory Commission.
Dallen Stanford, Professional rugby player, rugby coach, program manager for the youth nonprofit organization, Play Rugby USA, and ambassador for the Tackling Cancer Foundation. Nominated by Erin Sullivan.
Robert Susanj, Curler, member of the European Curling Federation and director of the Police Administration Specialty who is involved with multiple community service efforts. Nominated by the World Curling Federation (WCF).
Hayley Wickenheiser, Olympian, member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Classroom Champions volunteer, KidSport volunteer, and ambassador to impoverished African countries where she visits schools and communities to mentor youth. Nominated by Dale Ross, Principal at Shaunavon Public School.