Thomas honoured at sport’s night of nights

Petria Thomas OAM wins Leadership Award

Chef de Mission for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and nine-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Petria Thomas OAM has been honoured with the Leadership Award at the 2022 AIS High Performance Awards (ASPAs).  

More than 350 guests attended the black-tie gala event to celebrate the incredible achievements of Australian athletes, coaches, leaders, and volunteers over the past 12 months across Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports. 

“I’m feeling very chuffed and very honoured to be receiving this award,” Thomas said. 

“It was an amazing Games… and it’s probably one of the greatest honours of my life to be able to lead the team.” 

“I thank the Commonwealth Games Australia Board for believing in me to lead the team… our sports, our athletes, our coaches, the ones who are doing the work all year every year behind the scenes and getting their athletes ready, it’s when everyone works together and pulls together that you can do special things.” 

Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips AM acknowledged Petria’s award, recognising the impact she had on the team at the recent Games. 

“I congratulate Petria on winning this very well-deserved award,” Phillips said. 

“The recent success of the Australian Team in Birmingham amid the cloud of COVID is testament to her leadership, knowledge, and experience and the type of person she is.” 

“Under her guidance an environment was created to ensure the team excelled both on and off the field of play. I extend CGA’s heartfelt thanks for her exemplary leadership of the Australian team.” 

The Leadership Award is awarded for an outstanding demonstration of leadership by an established or emerging individual working within the National Institute Network, a national sporting organisation, or with the Australian Olympic Committee, Paralympics Australia, and Commonwealth Games Australia.  

Thomas led the second-largest team to a Commonwealth Games, where, to help enable success, Petria oversaw the creation a Team Performance Strategy 2019-2022, driving a high performance environment, which saw Australia top the medal tally, while simultaneously delivering a life-best experience for all team members. 

Australia’s medal-topping performance at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was strongly represented throughout the night across a number of other awards. 

The Australian Women’s Rugby 7s was named Team of the Year, after being the first side to claim 2022’s Triple Crown of international triumphs comprising of the Rugby World Cup, Commonwealth Games and World Rugby Seven Series. 

Craig Phillips, Ellie Cole, Donnell Wallam and Tim Mahon
(L-R) Craig Phillips, Ellie Cole, Donnell Wallam and Tim Mahon, following Wallam's recognition as the 2022 Emerging Athlete of the Year

Rising netball star Donnell Wallam, was named Emerging Athlete of the Year after debuting for both the Queensland Firebirds and the Australian Diamonds, with the award presented by Commonwealth Games Australia recognising outstanding sporting achievement by an emerging athlete. 

CGA alumnus and Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Kyle Vander-Kuyp was recognised with the Community Engagement Award for his ongoing commitment to advancing reconciliation and empowering Australia’s First Nations peoples, and we look forward to working with Kyle in the new year.

Jessica Stenson (athletics) took out Female Athlete of the Year, while Athletics Australia was awarded the High Performance Program of the Year. 

Cam Smith (golf) claimed Male Athlete of the Year, following an incredible 2022 campaign, with golf set to make its debut on the sport program for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games. 

Congratulations to all award nominees and winners. 

2022 ASPAs Award Winners:  

  • Female Athlete of the Year: Jessica Stenson, Athletics Australia 
  • Female Para-Athlete of the Year: Emily Petricola, AusCycling 
  • Male Athlete of the Year: Cam Smith, Golf Australia 
  • Male Para-Athlete of the Year: Ben Tudhope, Snow Australia 
  • Coach of the Year: Peter McNiel and Kate Blamey, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia 
  • Emerging Athlete of the Year: Donnell Wallam, Netball Australia 
  • High Performance Program of the Year: Athletics Australia 
  • Award for Leadership: Petria Thomas, Commonwealth Games Australia 
  • Team of the Year: Women’s Rugby 7s, Rugby Australia 
  • Community Engagement Award: Kyle Vander-Kuyp, Athletics Australia 
  • Win Well Award: Victorian Institute of Sport 
  • Sport Volunteer of the Year Award: Nicole Williams, Cricket Australia  



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