The 2012 WAIS Annual Dinner celebrated the achievements
of the past 12 months on Saturday night, with cyclist Cameron Meyer winning the
prestigious Athlete of the Year Award in front of over 450 guests at Perth’s Challenge
Meyer won the award for the second time, after his world
championship win in the men’s points race last April saw him edge out fellow cycling
world champion Scott Sunderland and Kookaburras Olympic bronze medallist Fergus
Kavanagh for the award.
Other award winners on this night included; dual Paralympic
swimming champion Kat Downie, who received the Athlete with a Disability of the
Year Award, and dual World Champion track cyclist Kelsey Robson, who won the
Junior Athlete of the Year Award.
Having taken the WAIS Athlete of the Year Award in the
2010, Meyer was again a popular winner, having claimed a sixth senior title at
the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne along with a bronze medal
in the maddison, and a senior debut in the UCI Road World Championships in the
Although not in Perth to receive his award, Meyer’s
father Ken, accepted on his’ behalf, claiming he would be delighted with his
second win. Meyer himself took to social media soon after learning of his award
to make a statement.
"I have just been announced as the winner of the WAIS
Athlete of the year award for 2012. It’s a great honour to receive this for the
second time and be a part of such great champions of the award. Unfortunately I
couldn’t be at the dinner function due to being in Europe but I look forward to
heading back to Perth soon and thanking everyone involved. Thank you WAIS,” it read.
16 year-old Kat Downie claimed the WAIS Athlete with a
Disabilty of the Year Award, following her fine performances on debut for
Australia at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Predominantly a freestyle
swimmer, Downie swam the breaststroke leg in the final of the 4x100m medley
relay as Australia, competing from lane two, recorded one of the most thrilling
wins of the entire Games. Downie achieved this after a strong performance in
Australia’s gold medal win in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Downie won the award
ahead of Paralympic hand cyclist Nigel Barley and London silver medallist,
wheelchair basketball athlete Shaun Norris.
WAIS cyclist Kelsey Robson was honoured for her exceptional
year winning the WAIS Junior Athlete of the Year Award after being the youngest
member on the Australian team that competed at the UCI Junior Track World
Championships in New Zealand. Competing in the women’s team pursuit, 16
year-old Robson won gold and broke a world record before claiming a second
rainbow jersey, after winning the women’s individual pursuit.
As has become tradition at the WAIS Annual Dinner, two new
Western Australian sporting icons were inducted into the WA Hall of Champions,
with hockey great Lorraine Packham and cricketer Justin Langer honoured.
Lorraine (Laurie) Packham, born in East Fremantle on 9
December 1937, was an exceptionally fast, agile and skilful left winger in the
sport of hockey, who was an All Australian representative for nine consecutive
years and was captain in 1966 and 1967.
As women’s hockey was not then an Olympic sport, Laurie
also competed in two World Championships which were also held every four
years. The first was in Baltimore, USA in 1963 and the second in
Leverkusen, Germany, 1967 where she was the captain and the playing
Laurie was a tenacious, exceptionally speedy forward with
excellent passing and ball control skills. As well as scoring goals she was
responsible for the setting up of countless others and was an important player
in the short corner battery. A testament to her ability and skill was
that she played first grade hockey for 25 years.
Justin Langer, born in Perth on 21 November 1970, was a
Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2001, and finished his glittering career as the
greatest first class run scorer in Australian cricket history, having amassed
28,382 runs at 50.23, exceeding the previous record of Sir Donald Bradman’s
28,067 runs. His tally of 86 first-class centuries placed him second only to
Bradman (117) on the Australian list.
He retired from international and interstate cricket in
2007 with the mantle of Western Australia’s greatest batsman and the only WA
player to have represented his country in more than 100 Tests.
Few have worn the baggy green Australian cap with such
pride and he ended his distinguished Test career of 105 matches with 7696 runs
at an average of 45.27, including 23 hundreds and 30 fifties.
The 2012 Wally Foreman Foundation scholarship was awarded
to netball athlete Numi Tupaea.