Commonwealth Games Australia mourns the passing of the Commonwealth Games Australia Life Member and one of Australia’s most influential sports administrators, aged 89.
One of Australia’s most decorated sport administrators and Commonwealth Games Australia Life Member Leslie ‘Les’ Martyn MBE OSJ passed away peacefully this week.
Les was the fifth Chairman of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA), Commonwealth Games Australia’s predecessor organisation, serving in the role for almost a decade from 1979 to 1987, after beginning his involvement with the Commonwealth Games as a weightlifting official at the Perth 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.
Commonwealth Games Australia President Ben Houston paid tribute to Les’ dedicated service to both weightlifting in Australia and to the Commonwealth Sport Movement.
“On behalf of Commonwealth Games Australia, our board, our sport partners, our team members and our staff, we mourn the passing of Leslie (Les) Martyn MBE OSJ,” Houston said.
“Les was one of the most influential sports administrators in Australian sport history and a dedicated servant to the Australian weightlifting community.
“His commitment to sport saw Les serve in roles at five editions of the Commonwealth Games before becoming the chair of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.
“During his tenure as chair, Les was instrumental in the organisation of the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games. A Games that were revolutionary for the Commonwealth Sport Movement.
“The Commonwealth Sport Movement in Australia today exists on the foundations that Les helped to build and nurture during his time with our organisation.
“He is a deserved life member of Commonwealth Games Australia.
“We thank Les for his contributions and service, and we will continue to strive to display the same passion and vigour for sport that he possessed in everything we do.
“May he rest in peace.”
Beginning his decorated administration career as a Chef Recorder at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games, Les went on to serve as a weightlifting referee at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962.
Ahead of the Perth Games and an example of his passion of supporting young team members to achieve their dreams, Les worked with Malaysian-Australian weightlifter Chim-Seong Leong.
Les Martyn imparting his knowledge and advice to weightlifter Chim-Seong Leong ahead of the Perth 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. (CGA Archive)
One of Australia’s first recognised weightlifting coaches, a passion which also saw him become the inaugural Chairman of the Australian Coaching Council.
Les served as President of the Confederation of Australian Sport (1983 to 1987), and became Australian Weightlifting Federation President (1971-1983) and served on the International Weightlifting Federation Executive Board (1981-1984).
His involvement in weightlifting extended to roles as manager and coach of the Australian team to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica in 1966, before moving to the Team Headquarters as Assistant General Manager at the Christchurch 1974 Games and then General Manager of the team to Edmonton in 1978.
During his time as Chair of the ACGA he played a significant role in the organisation of the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games and was the inaugural President of the Victorian State Division of ACGA.
The Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games are remembered as a revolutionary games for the Commonwealth Sport Movement.
Les Martyn and the fundraising committee receiving a support cheque for the Australian team. (CGA Archive)
He was the world governor of the World Masters Games Association, member of the International Board of Governors of Sport.
For his service to Sport Les was awarded the Administrator of the Year at the 1982 Sport Australia Awards, honoured with the Order of the British Empire – Member (Civil) (MBE) in 1978 ‘For service to sport’.
He was awarded Life Membership to ACGA in 1986, he is also a Life Member of the Australian Weightlifting Federation, the Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation, the Confederation of Australian Sport and the Oceania Weightlifting Federation.
He is a general member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the Australian Weightlifting Hall of Fame.
In 2000 he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal ‘For services to sports administration’.
He is survived by his three sons, Stuart, Paul and Graeme and their families.
Commonwealth Games Australia joins the Australian Weightlifting Federation and the wider Australian sporting community in sending our condolences to Les Martyn’s family and friends.