Sportstar November 2016 nominees

December 23, 2016

Soccer players Brenton Urbaniak and Cooper Akinstall and cyclist Michael Taylor are November 2016's Sportstar nominees

This month has seen joint winners in the junior Sportstar award between Brenton Urbaniak and Cooper Arkinstall.

Both 15-years-old, the pair travelled to Singapore in November to compete in the International Champions Cup for soccer as part of the Footskills Australia squad.

The past year the boys represented the state in the national age championships and have recently returned from representing the country at the tier-three international event against teams from Malayisia, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore and Philippines.

Urbaniak and Arkinstall previously played for Moama Echuca Border Raiders and will both be playing for the Goulburn Valley Suns in the National Premier League next season.

They trained in Melbourne most Saturday mornings in the lead up to the tour, which was a 10-day round robin event consisting of two pools.

Arkinstall plays on the wing and Urbaniak is a midfielder.

Both were selected for the invitation-only event after progressing through the soccer pathways, having been a part of development squads at advanced academy level since they were 10.

The international competition could put the pair a step closer to their goals of becoming professional soccer players.

At 47-years-old, Michael Taylor won the New York Marathon in the past month and did so without the use of his lower-body after a motorcycle accident 13 years prior left him paraplegic.

He was the first person to cross the finish line in the hand-cycle section in a scorching time of one hour, 23 minutes and six seconds.

Despite his injury Taylor has previously qualified for two Paralympics, represented Australia in world championships and competed in cycling events in several countries.

The Echuca-Moama Cycling Club member was the only Australian in a field of 58 competitors and his category-winning time placed him eight minutes ahead of the runner-up.

Taylor’s daughter Bailey, 13, and wife Tina were his pit crew, and have been a vital support network for the athlete throughout his career.

He is a well-known and liked member at the local club and has earned a lot of respect in the cycling world due to his many achievements.

His attention now turns to training for the 2017 national titles, but before then he’ll allow himself a little time to soak in his latest achievements.

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