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Commonwealth Games family honoured in Queens Birthday awards

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Gold Coast Commonwealth Games CEO Mark Peters heads the list of prominent Commonwealth Games family members to receive 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Peters joins Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter, Triathlon Australia CEO Miles Stewart, former Australia women’s cricket captain Lyn Larson, Paralympic snowboard gold medallist and Delhi athletics gold medallist Simon Patmore and netball coach Julie Fitzgerald in receiving awards.

The group join a list of unsung contributors across grassroots Commonwealth Games members sports including athletics, archery, boxing, cricket, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, powerlifting, rugby and table tennis to be awarded national honours.

Mark Peters has been honoured with an OAM for a lifetime of contribution in Australian sport, most recently through his work as CEO of GOLDOC, the organising committee for the Gold Coast Games, a role he held from the bid through to the completion of the Games in April 2018.

Mark Peters was CEO of GOLDOC, the organising committee for the Gold Coast 2018 Games

Prior to his role with the Gold Coast Games, Peters was CEO of the Australian Sports Commission for a decade and was President of Baseball Australia.

He is now a member of the newly formed Major Events Gold Coast board.

“It’s an honour to be recognised for all the things I have done and attempted to do to improve sport,” Peters told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“But it’s recognition to the people who have help me on the journey. Coaches, volunteers in the canteen, colleagues and my parents who drove me around to sport as a kid.

Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to community health, to sports administration, and to the arts”.

Prior to her role at Basketball Australia, Rechter was CEO at VicHealth and continues to make significant contributions to many state, national and international organisations in a Non-Executive capacity including Western Bulldogs Football Club Board (Director since 2018); Western Bulldogs Community Foundation (Director since 2018) and Stephanie Lake Dance Company (Chair since 2017).

“I am surprised, honoured and truly humbled to be receiving this award. I consider it a privilege to be able to contribute to the sectors and industries I have during my career to date. Serving the community is an honour. This award is also recognition for the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of working with and the extraordinary effects and achievements of a great many,” Rechter told Basketball Australia.

Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games triathlon silver medallist and now Triathlon Australia CEO Miles Stewart was appointed an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his service to triathlon and sports administration.

At age 20, Stewart won the world championship in his hometown, the Gold Coast and remains the youngest triathlete ever to be crowned world champion.

Along with his Manchester medal, Stewart was the first Australian home in the men’s event at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, finishing sixth overall.

“You don’t think about the recognition when you enter sports administration, and I’m really happy that I’ve been able to come back to the sport I love and most importantly, give back to the sport that gave me so much,” Stewart told Triathlon Australia.

“What’s most important to me is that I look after the sport. Sport will last longer than myself or any other sports administrator, and I just want to make sure that I leave the sport in a great place and provide the same opportunity for others to participate in a sport that I grew up loving since I was 15 years old.”

Netball Australia athlete development head coach Julie Fitzgerald was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

In 2019 Fitzgerald was appointed as head coach of Netball Australia’s athlete development program aimed at developing the nation’s next crop of potential Diamonds in preparation for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, a program supported by Commonwealth Games Australia.

The head coach of GIANTS Netball in the domestic Super Netball and the most capped coach in the history of the National League, Fitzgerald has been recognised for her significant and successful contribution to Netball and as a mentor to sportswomen.

A humbled Fitzgerald said she was quite astounded when she was notified.

“It’s not something you ever really expect to get, but I am certainly very proud and it’s something really nice for the whole family,” she told GIANTSNetball.com.au.

“Being involved in high performance sport means time away from your family, so it’s great to be able to share and celebrate this recognition with them. I absolutely love what I do and I can honestly say I love the sport as much now as the first day I started coaching my first team.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, but what women’s sport has achieved in the past few years has been outstanding.”

Simon Patmore was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to snowboarding after claiming gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics.

The 32-year-old also won the gold medal in the T46 100m at the Delhi Commonwealth Games and bronze at London 2012 Paralympics in the same event before turning his attention to winter sports.

Simon Patmore's reaction to winning gold in the T46 100m at Delhi 2010 Games

Patmore’s triumph on the slopes of South Korea in the snowboard cross upper limb category ended Australia’s barren 16-year run without winter Paralympic gold and in doing so he became the first Australian man to win a medal at both the winter and summer Paralympics.

Women’s T20 cricket will join the Games program in Birmingham and an early trailblazer for the sport, Lyn Larsen, has been appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia.

A Member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Larsen’s playing career spanned from 1981 to 1994, changing women’s cricket forever, setting numerous records that are unlikely to be beaten.

When appointed captain of Australia in 1986 at 22 years of age, Larsen was the youngest person to achieve this honour.

Larsen played in 15 Test matches, captaining Australia in 10 of them, becoming Australia’s most successful captain in the process, and in 49 one-day internationals, Larsen captained 43, winning 29 matches, another outstanding record.

In a demonstration of the growth of women’s cricket, when Larsen captained Australia to victory in the 1988 World Cup final at the MCG where 3000 spectators attended.

Earlier this year 86,000 fans packed the MCG as Australia captured the women’s Twenty20 World Cup showing the growth of the sport.

“I didn’t think I would ever see this,” Larsen told AAP. “And if it was ever going to happen, I didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime.”

“The really nice thing about the (T20 World Cup) final – apart from the crowd and the atmosphere and it went according to script, it was perfect – was catching up with all of the old players in the stands, players I hadn’t seen for 30-odd years. There was no-one there who was resentful, it was just a genuine pride of where the game is at … everyone was acknowledging we played our little part in that stepping-stone to getting it where it is today.”

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