Tuesday Dec 05, 2023

Sporting greats, activists, chefs in Queen’s birthday list honours

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Some of Australia’s biggest sporting names – including Ash Barty and the late Shane Warne, and rising star Jakara Anthony – top this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours.

The 2022 list recognises 992 “outstanding and inspirational” Australians, from across a range of fields. All display traits such as “selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service”.

Barty, the recently retired former tennis world No.1, said she was honoured to receive an Order of Australia, and hoped to continue contributing to the country by “providing youth with sport and education opportunities and inspiring all young kids to go after their dreams”.

Anthony broke Australia’s 12-year gold medal drought at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, winning the women’s mogul final earlier in the year.

Jakara Anthony won Australia’s only gold medal at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Supplied

At 23, she is the youngest person on this year’s honours list, which she said was “wild”.

“The people that have received the award before me, and I’m sure I’ll be getting it alongside, they’re such incredible people, and they’ve done so much good and accomplished so many things,” Anthony said.

“To be getting recognised alongside them by the whole of Australia is something very, very special.”

Despite already having achieved so much, Anthony is still working towards “perfection” in her skiing, and has deferred her university studies in exercise and sports science to concentrate on training.

Big para-athlete names were noticeably missing from this year’s list, but there was an honour for the woman behind some of the country’s most successful Paralympians – coach Iryna Dvoskina.

Paralympians put up coach for recognition

Dvoskina has coached Paralympians since 1992, starting in Ukraine before moving to Australia in 2003.

Speaking to TND from a training session in Mackay, she said she was almost speechless, but honoured, to learn she’d been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to Paralympic athletics.

She suspects current and former athletes nominated her – as many were surprised to learn she was yet to receive such an honour.

Iryna Dvoskina is still working hard at providing equal opportunities for all athletes. Photo: Iryna Dvoskina, Michael Angus

After decades of coaching, Dvoskina remains as passionate as ever about her work.

“I just think that all kids would like to run fast, jump further and higher,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter [if they] have disability or not, they deserve to have professional coaching.”

The ongoing war in Ukraine makes her OAM even more meaningful for Dvoskina.

She is still in touch every day with athletes she once trained who remain in Ukraine, and helped fund the flights of the Ukrainian team to Poland following the Beijing Winter Paralympics.

“It means even more, because I can show what Ukrainian people can do even [when we] move to different countries,” she said.

Activist honoured for services to issues close to heart

Beyond sport, lawyer, activist, and executive director of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at Melbourne’s Victoria University, Nyadol Nyuon, also received an OAM.

Ms Nyuon’s honour is for service to human rights and refugee women. The cause is personal; at just 17, she arrived in Australia as a refugee.

Nyadol Nyuon has used her personal experiences to raise awareness for migrant and refugee women. Photo: Supplied

“Seventeen years ago, I was sitting in a crowded class in a refugee camp, barely being able to conceive how I was going to get further education as I was getting to the end of my secondary studies, desperate to get out,” she said.

“I’m grateful to have had the life that took me from those refugee camps to a position now having national recognition.

“It just seems so unbelievable, and so unreal.”

Ms Nyuon hopes her inclusion in the honours list will bring more attention to issues faced by migrant women.

“Migrant and refugee women know the issues, we know our problem,” she said.

“This advocacy is actually not for migrant and refugee women, it’s for the mainstream community.”

Culinary celebrities recognised

Several celebrated Australian chefs were also recognised, including Donna Hay and Matt Moran.

Hay (awarded an OAM for her service to the food and hospitality sector as a cook and author) told TND she was honoured and humbled at the recognition for a career that she loves.

Matt Moran is excited to be honoured for doing what he loves. Photo: Supplied

The sentiment was echoed by Moran, who was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to tourism and hospitality, and to charitable organisations.

Along with being a multi-award-winning chef and restaurateur, Moran has community and charity links with organisations such as OzHarvest, and is developing a pub in the small NSW town of Rockley, where he hopes to provide up to 50 jobs.

“I feel as though the industry has been great to me and … I want to give back a little bit,” he said.

Anyone can nominate any Australian for an award in the Order of Australia. If you know someone worthy, nominate them now at gg.gov.au.


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