Picture: Nic Ellis

She is an eight-time gold medallist at the Paralympic Games, a mentor, passionate advocate and a tireless worker and, by the end of this month, Priya Cooper may also be one of WA's Citizens of the Year.

Ms Cooper has been named as a finalist in the sport category of Celebrate WA's Citizen of the Year Awards, to be presented on May 28.

Her contribution to sport extends much further than her incredible success in the pool at three successive Paralympic Games.

Since retiring from competition, Ms Cooper has dedicated her time to promoting sport as a way to improve the lives of people with disabilities and ensuring all West Australians have opportunities to take part in sport and healthy pursuits. "When you are immersed in your sport it is all about your performance, but it amazes me that 10 years after retiring you can still have so much impact," she said.

"All those recreational activities which keep you healthy, people take for granted - but there are a lot of people who can't access them. When you see someone's face light up when they realise they can participate in something, that's what drives me."

Ms Cooper started swimming as therapy for cerebral palsy at the age of two.

WA Citizens of the Year Award finalists

YOUTH ARTS
Jaymes Brown, Callum G’Froerer, Brittany Moxham, Curtis Taylor.
COMMUNITY SERVICE
Glenn Baker, Terry Creasey, Enzo Gullotti, George Jones, Julian Krieg, Dr John Owen AM.
SPORT
Priya Cooper OAM, Ricky Grace, David Hatt, John Longley AM.
GOVERNOR’S AWARD FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Wayne Bergmann, Brendan Hammond, Sue Middleton.
THE GOLD SWAN
Leukaemia Foundation, Manna Inc, Telethon Speech & Hearing, The Esther Foundation, Youth Focus Inc
THE PROFESSIONS
Dr Donna Cross, Professor Michael Daube, Dr Peter Leedman, Professor Ralph Martins, Professor Con Michael AO, Professor Bruce Robinson.
YOUTH
Thierra Clanton, Kylie Forth, Rick Newnham, Holly Ransom, Matthew Sims.
ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
Aurelio Costarella, Elizabeth Davenport OAM, Alan Dodge AM, Dr Cat Hope,
David Milroy.
INDUSTRY & COMMERCE
John Langoulant AO, Sue Murphy, Dr Shayne Silcox, Harry Xydas.
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE AWARD
Judge Denis Reynolds, Rae Walter, Professor Stephen Zubick.
SIR RONALD WILSON
Sally Herzfeld, Rosemary Hudson Miller, Professor Samina Yasmeen.
INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP AWARD
Dr Mark Bin Bakar, Professor Dennis Eggington, Dr Pantjiti Mary McLean, Jim Morrison.

The West Australian

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