Australia’s Ironman duo Mirinda Carfrae and Luke McKenzie have been awarded Triathlon Australia’s Individual Performances of the Year Awards for 2013 at tonight’s Celebration of Champions Dinner in Melbourne.
A who’s who of the Triathlon world rubbed shoulders on a night of night’s at the Pullman Hotel to celebrate the outstanding performances from Australia’s triathletes across all disciplines for last year.
A night that saw two of Australia’s greatest triathletes, Stephen Foster and Louise Mackinlay inducted into the Triathlon Australia Hall of Fame, joining previous inductees Michellie Jones, Jackie Fairweather (nee Gallagher), Emma Carney, Loretta Harrop, Greg Welch, Miles Stewart and Brad Bevan.
In a new award Triathlon Australia also recognised the careers of Rina Hill, Greg Stewart, Bob Telfer and the late Brian Barr in the Legend of the Sport Award category for athletes who have not only distinguished themselves at a high level of sporting performance with achievements considered superior to the majority of their peers but who have also made a greater impact on the sport of triathlon in Australia and around the world by inspiration or example to others.
But it was the current generation who dominated proceedings early in the night with the second win and the fifth podium finish from Queenslander Carfrae, who will turn 33 next Wednesday and 31-year-old McKenzie’s breakthrough year to finish second in the Ironman World Championships in Kona last October winning them the 2013 performance prizes.
Carfrae sent her apologies via video, saying she was honoured to receive the award after a year that saw her climb the toughest Ironman mountain for the second time in her extraordinary career.
The 32-year-old delivered a course-record time of eight hours, 52 minutes and 14 seconds to beat the old women’s mark of 8:54:02 for the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and marathon event.
She also set the run course record with a blistering 2:50:35, beating the 2:52:09 of two years ago.
Carfrae’s outstanding performance continues an eight-year winning streak by Australian men and women at Hawaii. She was also the first Australian woman to win multiple Hawaiian Ironman titles and has now acclaimed two wins, two seconds and one third since 2009.
Other nominees for the women’s award were Melissa Hauschildt, Annabel Luxford, Charlotte McShane and Emma Moffatt.
McKenzie dug deep to claim his first Kona podium behind Belgium’s Frederik Van Lierde with the Taree-born McKenzie collapsing at the finish, ecstatic with his breakthrough 8:15:19 performance.
His previous best at Kona was ninth two years ago in the Craig Alexander, Pete Jacobs quinella race.
“Last year was a game changing year for me. I made a commitment to myself to step it up and apply myself even more to my sport and it paid off. Training hard is just a small part of it. It really came down to a mental mindset and belief that I could compete and be at the top no matter what the race,” said McKenzie, who was in Melbourne to accept his award as he prepares for Ironman Melbourne on Sunday.
The other men’s nominees were Bill Chaffey, Joe Gambles and Declan Wilson.
Carfrae was also honoured alongside Australia’s 2013 World Champions “Chaffey, who won his fourth ITU World Paratriathlon World Championship in London; Hauschildt, who added the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championship as well as the 2013 ITU Long Distance Triathlon Championship; and McShane who became Australia’s latest ITU Under 23 World Champion in London.
McShane was honoured with the Chris Hewitt Emerging Athlete of the Year from five other nominees, Ryan Bailie, Natalie Van Coevorden, Tamsyn Moana-Veale and Declan Wilson.
Chris Hewitt who tragically passed away in 2005 had the award named after him to recognise athletes who have shown great promise and potential when emerging onto the ITU and WTC racing circuit “something that was very close to his heart.
Hauschildt was awarded the Athlete’s Athlete of the Year from Carfrae, Chaffey, Gambles, Luxford, McKenzie, McShane, Moffatt and Wilson, an award voted for by all athletes with a professional athlete membership which honours an athlete who has shown the most outstanding performance over the previous ITU and WTC racing season in the eyes of their peers.
Meanwhile McShane’s coach Jamie Turner of Wollongong Wizards fame, and also coach of Australia’s two highest ranked ITU Males Aaron Royle (11th) and Ryan Bailie (17th) received the High Performance Coach Of The Year Award.
There were five nominees for the Age Group Coach of the Year with Jarrod Evans (Endurance Team, VIC) winning the coveted award ahead of “Tim Ahern (Ahern Performance Training, NSW), Corey Bacon (Performance Triathlon Coaching, ACT, Toby Coote (Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy, QLD), and Ross Pedlow (Exceed Triathlon Club, WA).
Triathlon Australia also recognised Australia’s IOC Member Phil Coles for amongst other things his key role in triathlon’s inclusion into the Summer Olympic Games program and Col Stewart “long standing coach of Sydney Olympian and ITU World Champion son Miles, amongst others such as Chris McCormack, Chris Hill, Courtney Atkinson, Rina Hill and Michellie Jones.
The John Ison Award for Technical Officials for recognition of immense contribution to the technical side of the sport has gone to Debbie Hooper-Lees (QLD) for her dedication since becoming a Technical Official in 2007 and winning the Queensland Technical Official of the Year in 2011.
The Award was established to recognise John’s immense contribution to the technical side of the sport in Australia and internationally as TA president, vice-president and board member; its first Technical Committee chairman; who restructured the Race Competition Rules and ran various Technical Officials courses.
While the joint winners of the Rob George Award for valuable contribution for Technical Officials went to Suzie Bower from Tasmania who amongst other work has impressively educated, trained and mentored over 30 Technical officials in Tasmania and Sally Ham from Victoria who has officiated at over 24 events, presented five Technical Official courses and is highly respected at all levels from Race Directors to athletes.
Rob was a valued long term member of Triathlon Australia who worked with inexperienced Race Directors and played a mentoring role to many junior Technical Officials throughout NSW and who also performed with distinction on the international stage. Rob tragically passed away suddenly in 2012.
There were also special Technical Official Years of Service Awards presented to: Warwick Brennan (20 years) and Dwayne Currie, Edward Girvan, Robyn Scott, Frank Stapleton (15 years).
FULL LIST OF AWARDS, 2014 CELEBRATION OF CHAMPIONS ANNUAL AWARDS
World Champions: Mirinda Carfrae, Bill Chaffey, Melissa Hauschildt, Charlotte McShane.
Chris Hewitt Emerging Athlete Award: Charlotte McShane
Individual Performance of the Year, Male: Luke McKenzie
Individual Performance of the Year, Female: Mirinda Carfrae
Athletes Athlete of the Year: Melissa Hauschildt
Rob George Award (Technical Excellence): Suzie Bower (TAS), Sally Ham (VIC)
Technical Official Years of Service Awards: Warwick Brennan (20 years); Dwayne Currie, Edward Girvan, Robyn Scott, Frank Stapleton (15 years).
John Ison Award (Technical Award): Debbie-Hooper Lees
Age Group Coach of the Year: Jarrod Evans (VIC)
High Performance Coach of the Year: Jamie Turner (NSW)
Service To Sport Awards: Phil Coles and Col Stewart
Legend of the Sport Awards: Rina Hill, Greg Stewart, Bob Telfer, Brian Barr (posthumous)
Hall Of Fame: Stephen Foster (VIC), Louise Mackinlay (NSW)