Socceroos, runner McCann share Don award - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Socceroos, runner McCann share Don award

10/10/2006 11:37:55 PM Comments (0)

The first Socceroos team to qualify for the World Cup finals in 32 years and marathon star Kerryn McCann were named as joint winners of the "Don award" at the annual Sport Australia Hall of Fame awards on Tuesday night.

It was only the third time that judges had been unable to split two contenders for the top award.

The Socceroos were honoured for beating Uruguay in a penalty shootout in Sydney to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1974.

Once in Germany, they advanced to the last 16 before being beaten by a last-minute goal by eventual champion Italy.

The 38-year-old McCann's dramatic victory over Kenyan Hellen Cherono Koskei in the women's marathon was one of the most dramatic moments of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

The lead changed six times in the final two kilometres.

The judging panel noted both performances showed true sportsmanship and united and inspired the entire nation.

The "Don award" is named in honour of Sir Donald Bradman and is awarded for a sporting performance or performances over the past 12 months that have most inspired Australians.

"Few people could argue that the memories invoked by the Socceroos at Telstra Stadium and Kerryn McCann at the MCG will go down in history as amazing moments in Australian sport," Chairman John Bertrand said.

Champion Australian Rules football player and coach Ron Barassi was also honoured by the Hall of Fame as a "legend" of Australian sport.

Barassi was involved in 10 VFL premierships as a coach or player for Melbourne, Carlton and North Melbourne.

He also helped to lift the AFL's profile in Sydney during a stint coaching the Swans in the 1990s.

"As the face of Australian Rules football, Ron Barassi epitomises the sporting passion and winning spirit. But most of all, few would argue, he is one of the most decent gentlemen one could ever meet. He is a true legend," said Bertrand.

The "Spirit of Sport" award recognises a great sporting moment or event that is destined to go down in history.

The judging panel unanimously acknowledged the Melbourne Cricket Ground for its contribution to sport and as the true home of Australian sport.

The revamped venue was the centrepiece of the 2006 Commonwealth Games and this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Olympics.

Two-time US Open tennis champion Patrick Rafter, rugby union great Tim Horan, water polo player Debbie Watson and Richmond AFL star Kevin Bartlett were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

There are now 342 full members of the Hall of Fame.

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