Five Commonwealth Games gold medallists have been inducted to the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame as a celebration of all the achieved excellence throughout their careers.
Four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nathan Deakes headlines the incoming 2021 class of the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame members.
Deakes is joined by Cardiff 1958 Games javelin gold medallist Anna Bocson, Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games high jump gold medallist Tim Forsyth, Vancouver 1954 Games 440-yard hurdle champion David Lean and Edinburgh 1986 gold medallist and racewalker pioneer Simon Baker OAM.
After winning bronze in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 in the 20km walk, Nathan Deakes enjoyed a phenomenal Commonwealth Games career over the next eight years. At the 2002 Games in Manchester, he won gold medals in both the 20km and 50km walks, before defending both those titles at his home Games in Melbourne in 2006. He is an Olympic bronze medallist in the 20km walk from the 2004 Games and broke the 50km walk world record in December 2006 at the Australian 50 km Road Walking Championships in Geelong.
After representing her native Poland at the Melbourne 1956 Olympics, Anna Bocson naturalised to represent Australia then going on to become one of nation’s best-ever javelin throwers. At the Cardiff 1958 Games, Bocson overcame a slow start to throw 57.40m with her fourth attempt, winning the gold medal and setting a then World Record in the process. Bocson returned at the Perth 1962 Games to win bronze, and finished behind teammate Margaret Parker to win silver at the Kingston 1966 Games, to finish her career with a full set of medals. A three-time Olympian, twice for Australia, Bocson won six Australian titles, and was awarded with the Australian Sports Medal in 2000. In 2021, Bocson was inducted into the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame.
Simon Baker OAM
Australia’s top male walker throughout the 1980s, Simon Baker OAM showcased his talents to win gold at the Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games in the 30km event. Baker returned at the Auckland 1990 and Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games, finishing 7th and 6th respectively. A four-time Olympian, Baker had his best performance at the Seoul 1988 Games where he lined up in a world-class field and finished 11th in the 20 kilometres and an excellent sixth in the 50 kilometres. Baker won five titles at the Australian track and field and walking championships.
One of Australia’s finest ever high jumpers, Tim Forsyth finished his career with two Commonwealth Games medals, including gold at the Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games. After a breakthrough performance at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, where five athletes cleared 2.34m, he finished as a surprise bronze medallist on a countback. Heading into the Victoria 1994 Games, Forsyth cleared 2.32m to win gold over England’s Steve Smith on a countback. At the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Forsyth worked hard to retain his title and cleared 2.28m but finished with bronze. Forsyth called time on his career as a seven-time national champion, winner of Athletics Australia’s prestigious Edwin Flack Award in 2003.
A four-time Commonwealth Games medallist including winning gold in the 440-yard hurdles at the Vancouver 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The Vancouver 1954 Games were Lean’s debut where he outpaced Englishman Harry Kane to win the gold. It was only Lean’s eighth race over the distance and the first ever international victory by a Tasmanian athlete. Lean also won bronze medals as part of Australia’s 4×110-yard and 4×440-yard relay teams. He narrowly missed out on defending his hurdles titles at the Cardiff 1958 Games, finishing with silver behind South Africa’s Gerhardus Potgieter. At the Melbourne 1956 Olympics, Lean won a silver as part of the Australian 4x400m relay team. Lean was inducted into the Athletics Australia Hall of Fame in 2021.