Jared Tallent (Vic) and Kim Mickle (WA) are Athletics Australia’s Athletes of the Year, with the duo announced as the best-of-the-best for 2013 at a gala dinner at Crown Palladium, Melbourne.
The IAAF World Championships medal winning pair were joined on the illustrious honour roll by Evan O’Hanlon (NSW), Angela Ballard (NSW) and Matthew Denny (Qld), who were name Male Para-Athlete, Female Para-Athlete and Junior Athlete of the Year respectively.
Capping off what has been an enormous year for the nine-time Australian javelin champion, Mickle was also announced as the Eurosport Athlete of the Year for her continuing strong performances on the IAAF Diamond League circuit. Placing in the top-three each and every time she competed this year, her 2013 resume also includes a new personal best of 66.60m and a silver medal from the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
“Definitely a surprise. It’s capped off a remarkable year. It’s icing on the cake,” Mickle said.
“I want to go one better next year at the Commonwealth Games for sure. I won silver in Delhi and in Moscow this year so the gold is aim for sure. The pre-season is going well so far, the body is healthy and I can’t see anything less than gold as a good result.
“I’m so close to Joanna Stone’s record. I thought my last throw in Moscow had it but I am not there yet, and its unfinished business. Bring on 2014.”
Tallent has also shone both as part of the National Athletics Series and on the world stage this year. The winner of the Australian 20km Race Walking Championships in February, the three-time Olympic medallist went onto take out the top honour in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge and a stunning bronze medal in the men’s 50km walk at the IAAF World Championships.
“I’m very honoured to win this. I have been performing at a strong level like this for some time now, and it is probably ten years in the making but it is great to be recognised like this,” Tallent said.
“In 2003 I nearly gave the sport away when I lost my scholarship at the VIS but then I was invited to Canberra by Brent Vallance, my parents forced me to go, and the rest is history. I have to thank them especially for this.
“I have aspirations to continue right through to Tokyo, and who knows from there. I love what I do and am so excited and that I get to continue doing it now with my wife Claire (Tallent) as my coach.”
Tallent now has the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in his sights, while Mickle will look to improve on her silver medal from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi (IND) by winning gold when the event heads to Glasgow (SCO) in 2014.
“I’ve got the World Walk Cup next year and I have a bronze and a silver. The gold is my aim for sure. Fingers crossed,” Tallent added.
Tallent and Mickle’s Australian Flame teammate Jess Trengove (SA), who placed an outstanding 11th in the women’s marathon at the IAAF World Championships, was also recognised as the Australian Flame Athlete of the Year thanks to her strong commitment to the development of a team bond in the Australian Flame camps in both Tonbridge (GBR) and Moscow (RUS).
Arguably the best-performed athlete at the IPC Athletics World Championships, 2013 was certainly O’Hanlon’s year.
Setting two championship records in Lyon (FRA), the five-time Paralympic champion and dual world record holder added a further three world titles to his burgeoning trophy cabinet just weeks after recovering from viral meningitis.
The winner of three silver and one bronze medal at the IPC Athletics World Championships, Ballard’s rise to the top of wheelchair racing continues. Unable to attend the event tonight because she is completely her thesis, the four-time Paralympian is coached by Louise Sauvage.
Denny rounded out the big winners, with the 18-year-old crowned Junior Athlete of the Year.
The winner of six gold medals at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Perth, he went on to win a gold and bronze medal at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships and now has Eugene 2014 for the IAAF World Junior Championships firmly in his sights.
The 2013 Athlete of the Year Awards, proudly presented by Eurosport, were held in the Crown Palladium in Melbourne tonight.
The complete list of winners is:
Edwin Flack Award – Tamsyn Manou (VIC)
Art Series Hotel Volunteer of the Year – Richard Lawsyz (VIC)
Australian Sports Commission Junior Coach of the Year – Grahame Pitt (QLD)
Australian Sports Commission Para-Athlete Coach of the Year – Iryna Dvoskina (ACT)
Australian Sports Commission Senior Coach of the Year – Grant Ward (WA)
Eurosport Athlete of the Year – Kim Mickle (WA)
Australian Flame Athlete of the Year – Jess Trengove (SA)
Junior Athlete of the Year – Matthew Denny (QLD)
Female Para-Athlete of the Year – Angela Ballard (NSW)
Male Para-Athlete of the Year – Evan O’Hanlon (NSW)
Female Athlete of the Year – Kim Mickle (WA)
Male Athlete of the Year – Jared Tallent (VIC)
Life Governorship – Rob Fildes OAM (VIC)