Australian tennis player Dylan Alcott has been named 2022 Australian of the Year becoming the first person with a visible disability to win the award in it’s 62-year history.
Alcott was recognised for his sporting achievements as well as his philanthropy work in raising disability awareness. He told ABC News Breakfast that the achievement was overwhelming.
“To be named Australian of the Year and to get it for not just being good at tennis, but for the work off the court… my purpose 10 years ago, yesterday, today and as Australian of the Year, it’s never changed,” he said.
“It’s not to win tennis tournaments, it’s to change perceptions so people with disability live the lives that they deserve to live,”
“To be given that honour, to hold that platform to be able to do that, it’s huge, and I’m just so grateful and thankful… it’s unbelievable.”
The tennis star set up the Dylan Alcott Foundation in 2017 in an effort to help “young Australians with disabilities improve their quality of life”. The foundation helps young disabled people get involved in sport and education through mentoring, grants and scholarships”.
Recently Alcott won an eighth Australian Open title, now standing at total of 23 quad wheelchair grand slam titles. He is also the first man in the history of any form of tennis to win the Golden slam which is all the four major grand slams (Australian, French, US and Wimbledon) as well as an Olympic Gold medal.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also commented on the occasion by saying “an absolute Australian champion and now your #AusOfTheYear. Huge congrats to @DylandAlcott on a well-deserved award. You are truly extraordinary”. Alcott was born with a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord and has said “I’ve known nothing but having a disability” but also states it’s “the best thing that’s ever happened to him”.