Australian Sports Medal Presentations to 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games Team Members
Representing the Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Olympics, the Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement, the Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe MP;
Commonwealth Games Senior Representative, Ms Anna Meares OAM; Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Team Members; your invited guests; ladies and gentlemen, welcome.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend my respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging, including any First Nations people here today.
As Governor of Queensland, I am pleased and proud to welcome you to this presentation of the Australian Sports Medal to some extraordinary Queenslanders who represented us at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games earlier this year.
I was privileged to attend the opening ceremony of the Birmingham Games, having been asked by the Premier to represent our State there, four years after the Gold Coast hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Among the wonderful things about living in Queensland is the abundance of good weather, fresh air, vast outdoor spaces, and clean, inviting pools and beaches, if swimming is your thing. And it clearly is, judging by the number of swim champions here today!
The opportunities to participate in, and excel at sport are ever-present to a child growing up in Queensland.
Perhaps that is why our State performed so magnificently at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
It is impressive enough that collectively, the Australian team won 178 medals, 67 of them gold, 57 silver and 54 bronze, making our team – your team – the most successful team at Birmingham.
But I’m told that if Queensland were a nation in its own right, we would have finished above the rest of Australia in the medal tally!
Australia was represented by 429 athletes at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, competing in all 21 sports contested in Birmingham.
The Australian team showcased the determination, skill, experience, and in many cases future potential of our athletes, from silver-medal-winning Lawn Bowler Cheryl Lindfield, competing in her first Commonwealth games at age 63, to gold-medal-winning diver Charli Petrov, at age 14 our youngest competitor.
However, impressive as these competitors are, I am not just presenting medals today to the athletes who competed.
Part of the reason Queensland is so well-equipped to breed champion sportspeople is that its sports administrators, and those involved in training athletes and officiating at events such as the Games are also world-class.
The Australian Sports Medal, introduced at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Paralympics, recognises the efforts of sporting individuals, and this includes coaches, sports scientists, office holders and those who maintain sporting facilities, plus many more.
In my role as Patron-in-Chief of the Queensland Olympic Council and Patron of Little Athletics Queensland, I meet many of these devoted officials and non-competitors.
They are an essential part of the team behind any athlete who is competing at the elite level.
So, my congratulations to all of you on your stunning achievements in Birmingham.
You are a credit to your sporting organisations and communities, your State and your country.