Tennis star Dylan Alcott becomes the first disabled person to win the Australian of the Year

The Paralympic Dylan Alcott was named the 2022 Australian of the Year and was the first person with a disability award in 62 years of history.

After winning singles titles at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open and Tokyo Paralympics last year, he became the first men’s tennis player in history to achieve the “Golden Grand Slam”. gold.

Born with a tumor wrapped around the spinal cord that was cut out just days after birth 31-Year-The old Alcott said he “disliked” himself on Tuesday night.

“I didn’t like to be different, and as you know, I didn’t want to be here anymore. I really didn’t,” Alcott said.

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Dylan Alcott of Australia will face Niels Vink of the Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the Quad Wheelchair Singles on the seventh day of the 2022 Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia on January 23, 2022 at Melbourne Park. .. (Photo by Quinn Rooney / Getty Images)

Now the tennis champion considers his disability to be “the best thing that has ever happened”.

“I really want you to be proud of it, but winning a Grand Slam and a gold medal is not my goal,” he said. “My purpose is to change perceptions so that people like me can get out and live there. the A life they deserve to live. “

Paralympic athletes called for free rapid antigen testing for people with disabilities and full funding for the national disability insurance system. He also encouraged people to talk to people with living experiences and invest in people with disabilities to help them and their caregivers enter the workforce.

He added that more than 50% of people with disabilities are employed and the unemployment rate is twice that of healthy people, the same as 30 years ago.

“We must have more representatives of People with disabilities everywhere … in our conference rooms, parliaments, mainstream schools, dating apps, sports disciplines, colleges, everywhere. “

The seven Australian Open champions finished his speech with a message to people without disabilities.

“It’s time for you to challenge your unconscious prejudice,” Alcott said. “Leave your negative perceptions on the door and raise expectations of what people with disabilities can do.”

“Because there is always more than you think.”

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The Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott greets Greystame at the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards at the National Arboretum in Canberra, Australia on January 25, 2022. (Photo by Brooke Mitchell / Getty Images)

The tennis star has received many compliments for his voice advocacy for people with disabilities and his sporting achievements.

“You deserve this great honor to my friends. Do your best to aim for the 8th title in Australia!” Legendary Australian tennis player and former world number one Rod Laver I said in a Twitter post.

Meanwhile, Paralympic Kurt Fearnley called the decision to honor Alcott as the Australian of the Year “bloody.”

He said in Position On Twitter: “For the last 60 years, there have been some notable Paralympic athletes. Uncle Kevin Coombs, Libby Cosmara, Sandy Blythe, Louise Sauvage and many more! Suitable for many, but tonight is one of our mobs. Is it a night that welcomes people as #ausoftheyear? “

Last year, Grace Tame was named Australian of the Year for her work on survivors of sexual assault. In 2019, she launched a legal campaign that allowed Tasmanian survivors to speak.

The title of Senior Australian of the Year was given to Valmai Dempsey, a 71-year-old St. John Ambulance volunteer in Canberra. For her efforts By supporting the community between the Black Summer Wildfire and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The 2022 Young Australian of the Year Winners Dr. Daniel Noor fRom Sydney, founder of StreetSideMedics, a mobile non-profit healthcare service for homeless people in New South Wales.

Meanwhile, the country’s sober CEO, Shannawan Originally from New South Wales, she became an Australian local hero in 2022 for philanthropy. Through this activity, she is always trying to spread the message, “It’s okay to say no.”

The Australian of the Year is a national award given to Australian citizens by the National Australian Day Council.

AAP contributed to this article.

Nina Nguyen


Nina Nguyen is a Sydney-based Vietnamese reporter with a focus on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]