Three new members were introduced to the Western Australian Hall of Champions on Monday night with a third team also earning induction.
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The 2018 WA Hall of Champions function at the Pan Pacific Hotel saw Olympic sailing champion Belinda Stowell honoured alongside hockey great Bevan George and Australian Football icon Gary Buckenara.
The 2018 Herb Elliott Medal was bestowed upon Formula One superstar Daniel Ricciardo whilst the evening finished with the Western Australian State Netball teams of the 1969-72 era earning recognition for their history making feats.
Belinda Stowell migrated to Australia from Zimbabwe in 1991 and began a career in 470 class sailing at the world championships in 1998.
Piloting The Ugly Duckling at the Sydney Olympics Games in 2000 Stowell and her partner Jenny Armstrong won a gold medal. In doing so Stowell and Armstrong became the first women to win a medal in competition at that level.
Stowell competed in the Athens Games in 2004 and the London Games in 2012. These performances were accompanied by two world championships 1995 and 2002.
Belinda also won a European championship in 2000, all in the 470 class. Judged the Australian Female Sailor of the year in 2001 and 2002 Stowell has continued to support her sport through coaching aspiring sailors at the Western Australian Institute of Sport.
Bevan George is widely accepted as the most accomplished defender in Western Australia’s hockey history.
Born in Narrogin in 1977, George achieved an historic triumph when Australia won its first Olympic gold medal at Athens in 2004. George was recognised as Australia’s most consistent player during that tournament.
He then competed in the Beijing Olympics where Australia surprisingly did not qualify for the Beijing gold medal match, instead claiming a bronze medal.
In his decorated career in international hockey George was consistently selected in unofficial world elevens where his capacity to calmly defend and effectively attack took him to the pinnacle of his craft.
After a humble football apprenticeship in the WA Amateur Football League, Gary Buckenara went on to perform at a remarkably high level during 61 games with Subiaco, 154 games with Hawthorn, and in his 11 State matches for WA.
Never a physical powerhouse at 184cm and 83kg, Buckenara, a three-time all-Australian, relied on instinct and natural ability to become one of the most feted WA footballers who left Perth for the then VFL in 1982, playing in four premierships with the Hawks.
Buckenara, who played 226 games overall, was one of the inaugural inductees into the WA Hall of Fame in 2004.
Western Australian Women’s State Netball Team 1969-72
In 1969 WA won its first national netball championship in its own right.
Twice before WA had shared the title but the 1969 victory heralded a golden era in netball with four consecutive victories between 1969 and 1972.
The WA squad also dominated selection in the national teams of that time and contributed strongly to the win by Australia in the 1970/71 world championship in Jamaica.
Five members of that team in; Gaye Teede, Annette Simper, Cheryl Sidebottom, Ricky Pyatt and Elsma Merillo were from WA.
In the four year period from 1969 to 1972 Western Australia was undefeated, with the main opposition coming from Victoria and South Australia.
However, almost all the wins were by convincing margins and emphasised the greatness of the squads.