STRATHALBYN – A 90-year-old volunteer, an inspirational Paralympian, a running group and a man’s passion to save a community memorial were recognised at Strathalbyn’s Australia Day awards ceremony.
Emily Cross was awarded Citizen of the Year, Michael Roeger Young Citizen of the Year, Strathalbyn parkrun Community Event of the Year, and Brian Wakefield Community Service.
Langhorne Creek’s Michael Roeger spoke about his love of the region when he accepted the Young Citizen of the Year award.
Roeger won his first Paralympic medal with bronze in the 1500m at Rio 2016, having set a world record time in the USA in the lead up to the Paralympics.
Alexandrina Council interim CEO Victoria MacKirdy presented Roeger with the award. He was also congratulated by mayor Keith Parkes and deputy mayor Ben Brazzalotto.
“Michael was born in 1988 without the lower half of his right arm, but has never let that limit him,” Ms MacKirdy said. “As a youth, he excelled at football, basketball and cricket before turning his attention to running.
“Michael’s success is a testament to his perseverance and resolute attitude, and he should be extremely proud of what he’s achieved.”
Young Citizen of the Year: Michael Roeger
Below information supplied by Alexandrina Council.
Michael Roeger is an inspirational young man from Langhorne Creek who has already accomplished so much at the age of 28.
Michael was born in 1988 without the lower half of his right arm, but has never let that limit him. As a youth, he excelled at football, basketball and cricket before turning his attention to running.
In the 2008 Michael participated in the Paralympic Games in Beijing, where he set a personal-best in the 1,500 metre event.
He took the leap and moved to Canberra in 2009 to join the Australian Institute of Sport in preparation for the 2012 London Paralympic Games. He decided to put all his eggs in one basket and train solely for the 800 metre event.
Michael was selected as part of the Australian Paralympic Team for the 2012 Games in London. Despite putting in an inspired effort, Michael was forced to withdraw mid-race due to injury.
This seemed to only fuel Michael’s motivation, as he travelled to Lyon the following year for the IPC Athletics World Championships and won the bronze medal in the Men’s 1,500 metre and 5,000 metre events. Two years later at the same championships, this time held in Qatar, Michael once again won bronze in the 1,500 metre event.
Michael went to the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games full of confidence after unofficially breaking the 1,500 metre world record in Boston, before setting a world record time at a track event in Portland, USA.
A decade of hard work was repaid when Michael finished third in the 1,500 metre event at Rio, winning his first Paralympic medal. Michael’s success is a testament to his perseverance and resolute attitude, and he should be extremely proud of what he’s achieved.
Congratulations Michael on being the recipient of the 2017 Young Citizen of the Year Award.