By Kruti Joshi
“Women won 57% of Australia’s gold medals at the London Olympic Games,” Sunrise presenter Mark Beretta told the guests present at the fifth annual Women’s Health I Support Women in Sport Awards last night.
Held at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, the awards recognised the best moments and achievements of women in sport. A recognition, editor Felicity Harley says, these professionals do not get enough of.
The glamorous night began at 6:30pm with a red carpet, where well-known athletes and media executives posed for photographs as the other guests lingered around in the foyer with champagne in hand.
Prior to entering the main hall for the awards, guests were given a table number for the proceedings and dinner. The tables were set up in a squared “U” shape and were decorated with cutlery, name card and a menu for the evening. The tables were fitted with lights which were blue on entry. They changed colour throughout the evening to reflect the mood of what was being shown on three massive screens covering the walls behind the stage and the sides.
Even the Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page was amazed at the sheer size of the projectors. Page, who was on stage to present an award said: “I know we sell televisions but I haven’t seen anything like this. That’s it, I am building a bigger house.”
In a short speech to the crowd, Seven West Media Tim Worner told the guests that there would be a channel dedicated to covering women sports only during the broadcaster’s coverage of Rio 2016.
The 12 categories of the awards were split evenly between starters, main and desert. Which was a masterstroke in holding the guests attention and giving them time to mingle amongst their peers.
This year, Women’s Health introduced the I Support Women in Sports Hall of Fame, which recognises the life time achievement of a woman in sport. The first athlete to be inducted was eight times Olympic medallist nicknamed “Madame Butterfly”, Susie O’Neill.
Among the many notable people attending the event were Pacific Magazines’ Peter Zavecz, Pacific publisher Jackie Frank, Seven director of corporate affairs Simon Francis, commercial director Bruce McWilliam, chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette, Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell, ABC Sports journalist Amanda Shalala (who was named Person of Sporting Words), Ten’s Sandra Sully and Nine’s Erin Molan.
The official proceedings of the function wrapped up by about 10pm with many guests staying behind for canapés and desert.
• A gym towel from Rebel
• A pair of socks
• Three bottles of supplements from Swisse: Multivitamin tablets, stress relief tablets and a bottle of Wild Neptune Krill Oil tablets
I Support Women in Sport award winners:
Women’s Health Sports Woman of the Year – ANNA MEARES, Cycling
Moment of the Year – MINJEE LEE, Golf
Fair Fighter – CAROLINE BUCHANAN, BMX
Local Heroine – JORDAN MERCER, Ironwoman
Leadership Legend – LAURA GEITZ, Netball
A-Team of the Year – DIAMONDS, Netball
A-Team of the Year (special recognition) – MATILDAS, Soccer
Person of Sporting Words – AMANDA SHALALA, ABC
One to Watch – ELEANOR PATTERSON, High Jump
Service to the Sport – LYDIA LASSILA, Aerial Skiing
Contribution to the Community – AMNA KARRA-HASSAN, AFL
Outstanding Woman in Sport – ELLYSE PERRY, Cricket / Soccer
Hall of Fame – SUSIE O’NEILL OAM, Swimming