Water Polo recognised at ACON 2017 Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards

The water polo community has picked up three awards at the inaugural ACON 2017 Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards that were held in Sydney.

The Water Polo Pride Cup took out the prestigious Inclusive Sports Initiative with Mel Rippon from Brisbane Tritons Water Polo and Damien Hicks from Brisbane Barracudas taking out the Inclusive Coach awards.

The Pride Cup was first held in Victoria in 2016 as part of the National Water Polo League, with the 2017 event held in Brisbane.

WPA CEO Christian Renford said: “Water Polo Australia is delighted to be the winner of the inaugural Pride in Sport Index Inclusive Sports Initiative and we congratulate all of the sports who have also participated this year and demonstrated their support for diversity and inclusion in sport.

“We are proud of the partnership we have with Pride in Sport, our four LGBTI friendly clubs in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and our Pride Cup event, held annually during our National Water Polo League competition.

“There is still much work ahead toward ending homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and discrimination in sport, but together we can change that,” he said.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kate Palmer said the Pride in Sport Index, a joint initiative with the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Bingham Cup, was a world-first national benchmarking instrument designed to assess lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) inclusivity in Australian sport.

“As Australia’s leading sport agency, we believe discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation can have a significant impact on people’s sporting experience as it violates their right to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness,” Palmer said.

“Sport provides people with a sense of enjoyment, relaxation and health as well as numerous social benefits. At its best, it also promotes fairness, equity and good sporting behaviour.

“The Index helps sporting organisations to review their practices and policies and demonstrates excellence in the promotion of LGBTI inclusion.

“I congratulate the AFL as the inaugural winner [Pride in Sport Index Organisation of the Year Award] and all of the sport award recipients. The support and initiatives shared through the awards is great testimony to the work sport is doing and can lead for the inclusion of LGBTI players, staff, spectators and supporters,” Palmer said.

Congratulations to all winners:

  • Australian Football League – Pride in Sport Index Organisation of the Year
  • St Kilda Football Club – Inclusive Club
  • Water Polo Pride Cup – Inclusive Sports Initiative
  • Brumbies Vice-Captain David Pocock – LGBTI Ally (Sport)
  • Jason Ball, Yarra Glen Football Club – Out Role Model (Sport)
  • Mel Rippon, Brisbane Tritons Water Polo – Inclusive Coach (Sport)
  • Damien Hicks, Brisbane Barracudas – Inclusive Coach (Sport).

In addition to the awards, the event also announced Water Polo Australia as one of three Foundation Members of the Pride in Sport program, signifying the sport’s commitment to its creation and ongoing development. This membership was made possible by the support of a number of the Water Polo State Associations, Melbourne Surge and Sydney Stingers.