Netball Australia was among the big winners at the inaugural AIS Sport Performance Awards with CEO Kate Palmer and Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander both receiving accolades.
Alexander was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Diamonds to gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and then a 4-0 clean sweep of New Zealand in the Constellation Cup in the Real Insurance Netball Test Series.
Palmer and Shooting Australia CEO Damien Marangon were joint winners of the Melbourne Business School Leadership Award.
Palmer said she was proud to accept the award on behalf of Australia’s entire netball community.
“This award acknowledges the fantastic work that the whole organisation is doing across a number of areas,” Palmer said.
“From the Board of Netball Australia and across our operational teams to the state and territory bodies and volunteers, I happen to be fortunate to be CEO of a very capable organisation.
“I believe it’s a pat on the back for all of the sport. It’s also an incredibly well-deserved award for Lisa and, again, great recognition for our sport.
“Congratulations to the Australian Institute of Sport and the Australian Sports Commission for celebrating outstanding achievement in the industry.”
The Diamonds won all 13 Tests they played in 2014, ending Australia’s 12-year Commonwealth Games Gold Medal drought in convincing style with an 18-goal win over New Zealand in the Final.
Alexander was also quick to praise the Diamonds’ athletes and staff and Netball Australia for her accolade.
“It’s approval from the sporting world around the performance of the Diamonds and that’s what I’m enormously proud of,” Alexander said.
“It’s a bit overwhelming but I guess it’s a great testament to the team and the bigger team which is Netball Australia, our sponsors and the member organisations and everyone who played a part in 2014.
“Because it was a big team effort. It’s all the little things we did last year, the state bodies playing their part, the (Australian-based) ANZ Championship coaches and the commitment from everyone to make sure we had the best year possible.
“Most of all the athletes, who sacrificed their time and family and friends and put the effort in and also my staff. I can’t ask for better staff.”
Dual world champion canoeist Jessica Fox was named Athlete of the Year while the public voted for paralympian Kurt Fearnley and rugby league premiers South Sydney as the Sports Personality and Sports Performance of the Year.