Thomas among Life Member inductees, as Petrov declared Emerging Athlete of the Year


Nine-time gold medallist Petria Thomas OAM is one of four Life Members to be conferred at the Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) Annual General Meeting today.

To be joined in the prestigious club by four-time medallist and accomplished administrator Valerie Beddoe AM, seven-time team physiotherapist Peter Duras and former Chief Medical Officer Dr Peter Harcourt OAM, the quartet take the honour roll to 32 people.

CGA President Ben Houston congratulated the four new Life Members for their contribution and service to the Commonwealth Games movement in Australia.

“Life membership is conferred upon those who have provided significant service and contribution to the Commonwealth Sport movement in Australia, and I congratulate our latest inductees on this honour,” Houston said.

“This recognition provides CGA with a chance to celebrate the rich history. Each of the 32 members are well deserving and exemplary in their field of service.”

The induction of Life Members today follows the announcement of Birmingham 2022 diving gold medallist Charli Petrov as the inaugural Emerging Athlete of the Year at the President’s Dinner last night.

Petrov was the youngest member of the Australian team and won gold alongside idol Melissa Wu at Birmingham 2022, bolstering her nomination with a further two gold medals at the 2022 FINA World Junior Diving Championships.

“I always want to achieve something great in sport… and couldn’t achieve that without the support of my family, my coaching team, the VIS, and Diving Australia,” Petrov said.

Victoria 2026 “will be such an amazing experience to represent the green and gold in front of a home crowd.”

A celebration of the next generation of Commonwealth Games heroes, the Emerging Athlete of the Year Award was introduced by CGA to pay homage to those young athletes that inspire through their performance and community contribution.

The Emerging Athlete of the Year was nominated to the CGA Board by the Heritage and Awards Committee after being selected from the cohort of monthly winners announced across 2022.


Valerie Beddoe AM
Valerie Beddoe AM (diving) competed at three Commonwealth Games, winning a gold medal in the 10-metre platform at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane after taking silver in the event at the 1978 Games in Edmonton. In her title defence in 1986, she came second behind Canada’s Debbie Fuller in Edinburgh. Beddoe also represented Australia at the Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympic Games. A Life Member of Diving Australia, Beddoe became a national diving selector and was the Team Manager for Diving at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001.
Peter Duras
Peter Duras is a retired sports physiotherapist with experience in a variety of elite sports, including eight years with the Western Bulldogs and Essendon Football Clubs. He has travelled extensively overseas with Australian teams, including four World Athletics Championships and seven Commonwealth Games. Peter has been an active Rotarian for 47 years. He is a member of the International Society of Olympic Historians, and a keen collector of sports memorabilia and autographs. He has been a volunteer guide at the National Sports Museum for 10 years, was the inaugural Chair of the Australian Physiotherapists Association and is a life member of Athletics Australia.
Dr Peter Harcourt OAM
Dr Peter Harcourt OAM has worked across the Commonwealth Games in various capacities including when he was a member of the CGF Medical Commission for Gold Coast 2018. He was also Chief Medical Officer at the Melbourne 2006 Games and Chair of the Commonwealth Games Australia (CGAus) Medical Commission. He has been appointed as the new Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Medical Advisor where he will chair the Anti-Doping and Medical Commission and join the Executive Board. He has been the Chair of Commonwealth Games Australia’s Medical Commission, Chair of the WADA TDSSA Expert Group and a member of the Australian Government’s Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel and the Australian Sports Drug Medical Advisory Committee. He currently chairs both the International Cricket Council (ICC) Medical Advisory Committee and the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) Medical Commission whilst being a member of the Prohibited List Expert Group of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). He also holds the roles of Medical Director of the Australian Football League (AFL), Chief Medical Officer to Basketball Australia and Anti-Doping Medical Officer to Cricket Australia.
Petria Thomas OAM
Petria Thomas OAM (swimming) won nine Commonwealth Games gold medals in total beginning with two gold medals in the 100-metre butterfly and 4×100-metre freestyle, at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada. Despite battling shoulder problems, Thomas defended both of those titles at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Thomas won five gold, one silver and one bronze medals. Her victory made her the first female swimmer ever to win the same event – the 100-metre butterfly – at three consecutive Commonwealth Games. During a representative swimming career that spanned eight years, Thomas also won three Olympic and three World Championship gold medals. She was Australian swim team captain from 2001-2004, was three times crowned AIS Athlete of the Year (2001, 2002 and 2004), won the 2004 ‘The Don’ Award and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2007. Following retirement from swimming after winning Olympic gold in Athens in 2004, Thomas became Team General Manager at three Commonwealth Youth Games and was on the headquarters staff at four Commonwealth Games. The Deputy Chef de Mission on the Gold Coast, Thomas was appointed as Australia’s first female Chef de Mission for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and will again be Chef de Mission for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.



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