For more than 20 years Raylene Bates has developed, nurtured and propelled New Zealanders living with a disability onto the world stage, but last night it was her turn to shine.
Bates was presented with the Attitude Shining Light Award, sponsored by Cigna, for her contribution and passion to developing gold-medal winning paralympic athletes, at the annual black tie Attitude Awards in Auckland.
“More recently known as the para-athletics Team Leader and Head Coach for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - which saw New Zealand finish at number one on the medals per capita table - Raylene has had a long and incredible career transforming Kiwi para-athletes into international stars,” Cigna Chief Executive Lance Walker says. “This award is recognition of Raylene’s incredible passion, dedication and commitment to enabling Kiwis to compete at the highest levels. At Cigna, we believe investing in the health of our communities directly connects with overall success, and Raylene is testament to this. Congratulations Raylene.”
The Attitude Shining Light award recognises someone in the sporting realm who not only contributes to New Zealand on the world stage in the sporting arena, but is also someone who is doing great work to advance the lives of people who live with disability. This person may be an athlete, or someone who makes it possible for the athlete to shine in the spotlight.
Bates, who started coaching in her early 20s, has worked with paralympic and able-bodied athletes, and has managed teams at numerous Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and other international competitions. She is a former national level athlete in throws events.
The Attitude Awards celebrates the success of people who live with disabilities. Awards are presented across seven categories to people whose extraordinary talents have often not been recognised by society. First held in 2008 the Attitude Awards are the only national awards that celebrate achievement in the disability sector across all disabilities.
Attitude Trust Chairman Dan Buckingham says: “Every year we say it, and every year it is true - the calibre of entries for these awards continues to astound us. The Attitude Awards is a great way to recognise the un-sung heroes and role-models of our community. And collectively change people’s views of what is achievable when someone lives with a disability.”