Paddle Australia is posthumously honouring Marathon volunteer Joe Alia for his contributions to the paddling community with the 2021 Services to Paddling Award.
The Services to Paddling award recognises the efforts of non-professional sports personnel who have served the administration or development of paddling over a number of years at a state or national level.
Joe was a long term supporter of paddling in Australia, his involvement spanning nearly 50 years.
He first became involved in paddling through participation in the Murray Marathon, which he completed on a home built raft.
Following this, Joe became involved in Fairfield Canoe Club, representing the club in marathon and dragon boating, competing both in Australia and overseas.
Joe also pursued coaching, where he became involved in flatwater and dragon boat coaching, leading him to coaching roles at Trinity Grammar and Strathcona Girls Grammar in Victoria.
But Joe’s passion remained with the discipline of marathon, and he was committed to the running of events and was an active member of the Paddle Australia Marathon Technical Committee for more than 20 years, leading the committee as Chair for much of that time.
Paddle Australia Marathon Technical Committee Chair Jerry Dunn said that Joe is deserving of the Services to Paddling Award.
“Joe was a member of the technical committee for nearly a decade, however had an unofficial role for slightly longer.
“He contributed to the future strategic planning of the discipline and took a major role with the review of the Australian Canoe Marathon Competition Rules.
“During planning sessions and committee meetings, Joe was never afraid to express his passion for the development of the sport or all involved,” he said.
Paddle Victoria Marathon Technical Committee Chair John Young said he is grateful to have worked closely with Joe for a number of years.
“Joe’s dedication to the sport and willingness to help others was apparent to those that met him, as was his knowledge and experience of paddling in Victoria,” Young said.
“Those who worked with Joe admired his contribution and dedication to our sport, recognised the positive contribution he made to paddling, valued his help freely given to others, and his friendship.
“Joe is a deserving and worthy nominee for the Services to Paddling,” he said.