Australian athletics star Kim Mickle was awarded the Western Australian Institute of Sport’s highest honour at the weekend, crowned the WAIS Athlete of the Year in front of 470 guests at the 2013 WAIS Annual Dinner.
In a year that has seen Mickle win a silver medal at the World Championships in Moscow and extend her personal best (66.60m) to within 20cm of the Australian National record, the popular javelin thrower received the award over fellow finalists Glencora McGhie (water polo) and Lauren Reynolds (BMX).
Mickle medalled in every competition she competed at across the competition season in a remarkable campaign, and was presented the award after her coach Grant Ward had claimed the WAIS Coach of the Year Award in recognition of his achievements in assisting Kim to her significant heights in 2013.
The Western Australian Institute of Sport’s Canoeing Program was heralded as the WAIS Program of the Year, with head coach Ramon Andersson accepting the award that reflected the program’s success in qualifying four athletes onto the Australian senior World Championship team.
In a dual success for the program, athletes Jesse Phillips and Stephen Bird were jointly awarded the WAIS Athlete Career and Education Excellence Award for their efforts in establishing a meaningful sponsorship arrangement with Mining Company, Brierty.
U23 Rowing World Champions Alex Hagan and Hannah Vermeersch were named as WAIS Junior Athletes of the Year, after the duo formed part of the Australian women’s four squad that won a world title at the U23 World Champs in Austria.
As has become a time honoured tradition of the WAIS Annual Dinner, a new name was inducted into the Western Australian Hall of Champions, with water polo athlete and Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medallist Danielle Woodhouse (nee Gusterson) added to the Hall’s illustrious ranks.
Woodhouse played 154 games for Australia between 1993 and 2000 and was also an integral part of the Australian Stingers’ 1995 World Cup winning team.
The Hall of Champions also bestowed legend status on a sixth member of the Hall, with Australian Hockey icon – Ric Charlesworth – elevated to highest level of sporting accolade in Western Australian sport.
Powerfully-built and possessing brilliant speed and lateral movement, Charlesworth was an explosive inside-forward that in his prime, was rated the best player in the world.
He was selected for the five Olympic Games from 1972 to 1988, though Australia missed the 1980 Games in Moscow because of political pressure. He bought home an Olympic medal (silver) from the 1978 Games in Montreal.
Charlesworth played in six Champions’ Trophy tournaments from 1980 to 1988, winning gold medals in 1983 and 1985. He also contested four World Cup tournaments from 1975 to 1986.
His career highlight came in 1986 when Australia won the World Cup in London. He was the leading goalscorer of the tournament, voted best player and named in the World XI for the fifth time.