Five Commonwealth Games Australia alumni members have received one of top honours in Australian sport by being inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
And Australia’s Birmingham 2022 bound women’s T20 cricket team were deserving winners of the prestigious ‘The Don’ Award, voted as the sportsperson or team who had most inspired the nation in 2020.
Cycling legend Cadel Evans AM, basketball icon Lauren Jackson AO, diving star Matthew Mitcham OAM, netball trailblazer Michelle Den Dekker OAM and netball coaching pioneer Jill McIntosh represent the class of 2020 who have all represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
The Australian women’s cricket team, led by captain Meg Lanning, capture the eys and hearts of Australia with their commanding World Cup final win over India, in the final played in front of 86,174 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the largest crowd for a women’s cricket event in the world.
In a COVID-19 modified televised Sport Australia Hall of Fame gala, the five members of the class were honoured for their services, contributions and achievements to Australian sport and recognised as inspirations for all Australians. If you missed the broadcast, you can catch up at any time via 7plus.com.au
The quintet joined woodchopping icon David Foster OAM and water polo champion Bridgette Gusterson OAM in being inducted as Hall of Fame members.
The final award saw Australian Wallabies champion John Eales AM elevated to Legend status, becoming just the 42nd sportsperson to achieve the rank.
Commonwealth Games Australia congratulates all inductees and award winners, along with John Eales on his elevation to Legend status and we look forward to once again sharing Australia’s sporting night of nights in person in 2021.
Cadel Evans cemented his place as one of the all-time greats of Australian road cycling following his historic Tour de France win in 2011. In 2001, Evans made the switch to professional road racing after starting out as a mountain biker, with early successes including winning gold in the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games time trial and silver in the road race, and overall wins in the 2001 and 2004 editions of the Tour of Austria, he was bound for glory on the bike.
After winning the 2009 UCI Road World Championship and recording four top-10 Tour de France finishes during the 2000s, Evans broke through for his historical triumph in 2011, making him the most successful Australian rider the great race has seen.
Lauren Jackson is widely regarded as one of the all-time greats of Australian basketball female or male. A four-time Olympian, having won three silver and one bronze medal, she also led Australia to gold at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, the first time basketball was included on the sport program at the Games.
Jackson was a superstar in the biggest and best women’s competition in the world, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), after the Seattle Storm selected her as the overall No 1 draft pick in 2001, viewing her as a franchise player. She played 308 games for Seattle between 2001 and 2012 before injury forced her into retirement, winning two championships and a host of personal accolades, including three Most Valuable Player awards, and earning selection in the All-Star team seven times.
Matthew Mitcham rewrote the history books at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games when, in an astonishing last-gasp performance under extreme pressure, he became the first Australian male diver since Dick Eve in Paris in 1924 to win an Olympic gold medal.
Matthew represented Australia at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, narrowly missing medals in three events. Shortly after, Mitcham had fallen out of love with diving; depressed, burnt-out mentally and physically, he decided to stop competing. It was during this break that he sourced a new coach, and Mitcham said, “I came back with such a drive, a burning desire”, it was at this moment that his passion for professional diving was found again.
Mitcham won four silver medals across all disciplines at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. Four years later at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Matthew won gold in the Syncro 10 metre platform and two silver medals in the springboard.
Michelle den Dekker OAM
Michelle den Dekker is one of Australian netball’s most successful captains leading a dominant Australian team to a remarkable 92 per cent win ratio in a record 71 matches as captain. Her triumphs included world championships in 1991 and 1995 and victory at the Auckland 1990 Commonwealth Games, when netball was a demonstration sport.
Her period as captain is often considered to be a golden era for the Australian National team with many teammates going on to become greats of the sport. Following her impressive career on the court, den Dekker started a successful career on the sidelines becoming an assistant coach of the Australian Diamonds between 2013 and 2015.
She was an assistant coach for the gold medal winning Diamonds sides at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2014 World Cup gold medals and the head coach of Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Canberra in 2014-2015.
Jill McIntosh became coach of the national netball team in 1995, a position she held through to 2003, winning 88 matches and losing just six for a remarkable winning strike-rate of 94 per cent. This included gold medals at the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games and the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, and two world championships in 1995 and 1999, all of which were unbeaten.
Jill was inducted into the Netball Australia Hall of Fame in 2009 and received the International Netball Federation’s service award in 2013.
For further information on head to sahof.org.au