Award means cyclist Kaarle McCulloch is the best of our best

OLYMPIAN Kaarle McCulloch emerged from the long shadows cast by our other sporting champions to finally win the Leader Tynan Honda Sportstar of the Year award, at a glittering awards dinner on Friday.

McCulloch acknowledged her award via video link at a packed Doltone House, Sylvania Waters, where the now retired Australian Test cricketer Glenn McGrath was inducted into the Hall of Fame. (see story below) 

It was more than time for the champion sprint cyclist from Gymea Bay, a graduate of Endeavour Sports High.

The long-time women’s team sprint partner of Olympic champion Anna Meares, McCulloch happily piled up world championship titles - and world records - alongside Meares.

But such is the depth of sporting talent in the St George and Sutherland Shire, McCulloch seemed l perennial runner-up to world champions like Craig Alexander, Chris McCormack and Billy Dib in recent years.

Not so on Friday night ... it was Kaarle’s turn and she was a deserved winner of the 2012 award.

A good season last year, when she won a gold and three silver medals at the national track titles, was topped off when she and Meares again paired to win Australia’s first cycling track medal of the 2012 London Olympics in August — after being pipped for the gold-medal ride-off in the women’s team sprint.

The pair finished behind Germany and China, after beating Ukraine in the third place race-off.

Without Meares, McCulloch followed up with Stephanie Morton in the women’s team sprint final at the cycling World Cup in Mexico.

McCulloch had to beat three other women Olympians to take the award. Cronulla Water Polo Club’s Alicia McCormack, Nicola Zagame and Holly Lincoln-Smith finished runners-up on the night, after their Australian team won the bronze medal at the London Olympics, while Cronulla surfer Connor O’Leary capped a fine season by winning the senior encouragement award.

McCulloch, who is training and racing in Belgium after a short season in Japan and will return to the Australian Institute of Sport in Adelaide, was effusive with her thanks after being awarded the Sportstar of the Year award.

‘‘I know all our top sportspeople look forward to this night,’’ she said from Belgium. ‘‘I’ve been close before, and now I’ve won makes me so proud. I can’t thank the Leader, and Tynans, enough because it does mean so much, winning.’

McGrath in Hall of Fame

AUSTRALIAN cricketing great Glenn McGrath on Friday night joined a growing list of past and present stars to be inducted into the Leader’s Sporting Hall of Fame.

The retired Sutherland Cricket Club star, 43, now a Test cricket commentator, also became only the third cricketer in the Hall of Fame list, along with former St George Test players Arthur Morris and Brian Booth.

His first Sutherland club president, Tom Iceton, told an amusing story about how he didn’t give a much younger McGrath from country Narromine much of a rating when he first saw him bowl in Sydney after McGrath brought his caravan to the shire from country Narromine in the early 1990s.

Of course that quickly changed after McGath made his debut for NSW, and then Australia.

In 124 Tests bowling on all wickets before he retired in 2006, McGrath became the world’s greatest wicket-taker for a fast bowler (563 wickets at a phenomenal average of only 21.64 runs a wicket).

In that tally he took 10 wickets in a match three times, and five wickets in an innings 29 times, while bowling for this country.

McGrath, AM, is board chairman and ambassador for the McGrath Foundation, a breast cancer support and education charity he founded with his deceased first wife, Jane.

On Friday night McGrath said he was ‘‘honoured’’ to twice win the Leader Tynan Sportstar of the Year award (1999 and 2005).

‘‘Now, to join the likes of Arthur Morris and Brian Booth in the Leader Hall of Fame is just fantastic,’’  said McGrath, who was also inducted into the ICC Hall of fame in January.

See a list of category winners below and click on the comment link below the story to congratulate them. What do you think was the best thing about the awards?

LEADER TYNAN HONDA 2012 SPORTSTAR

Category - Junior Team Award

Sponsor - St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – CRONULLA CRAYS U/14 BEACH SPRINTERS

Category - Senior Team Award 

Sponsor – St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – SUTHERLAND SHIRE NETBALL FIRST DIVISION TEAM

Category - All School Team Award 

Sponsor – St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – DANEBANK ANGLICAN SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Category - Horrie Maher Junior Encouragement Award

Sponsor – St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – MADDISON LENARD

Category - Junior Runner Up Award

Sponsor – St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – BRENT SMITH

Category - Junior Sportstar of the Year

Sponsor –  St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – JARROD CULLEN

Category - Disability Award

Sponsor – Sutherland Shire Council + St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – NICOLE HARRIS

Category - Masters Award

Sponsor – Doltone House + St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

Olympic bronze medallist cyclist Kaarle McCulloch is the Leader Tynan-Honda 2012 Sportstar of the Year.Picture John Veage

Olympic bronze medallist cyclist Kaarle McCulloch is the Leader Tynan-Honda 2012 Sportstar of the Year.Picture John Veage

Senior runner up winner-Nicola Zagame,Holly Lincoln-Smith and Alicia McCormack.Picture John Veage

Senior runner up winner-Nicola Zagame,Holly Lincoln-Smith and Alicia McCormack.Picture John Veage

All the 2012 Sportstar winners on the centre stage. Photo: John Veage.

All the 2012 Sportstar winners on the centre stage. Photo: John Veage.

The sponsors from the night; Sutherland and Hurstville Council, Tynan Motors Honda and the Leader newspaper were all represented on the night. Photo: John Veage.

The sponsors from the night; Sutherland and Hurstville Council, Tynan Motors Honda and the Leader newspaper were all represented on the night. Photo: John Veage.

Olympic Bronze medallist Kaarle McCulloch winner of the 2012 Leader Tynan motors Honda sportstar award. Photo: John Veage.

Olympic Bronze medallist Kaarle McCulloch winner of the 2012 Leader Tynan motors Honda sportstar award. Photo: John Veage.

Senior runner up award presented jointly to the Cronulla Olympic waterpolo players and accepted on their behalf. Photo: John Veage.

Senior runner up award presented jointly to the Cronulla Olympic waterpolo players and accepted on their behalf. Photo: John Veage.

Cronulla surfer Connor Oleary was the senior Encouragement winner. Photo: John Veage.

Cronulla surfer Connor Oleary was the senior Encouragement winner. Photo: John Veage.

Australian test cricket legend Glenn McGrath was the latest inductee into the Sportstar Hall of Fame. Photo: John Veage.

Australian test cricket legend Glenn McGrath was the latest inductee into the Sportstar Hall of Fame. Photo: John Veage.

Australian test cricket legend Glenn McGrath was the latest inductee into the Sportstar Hall of Fame. Photo: John Veage.

Australian test cricket legend Glenn McGrath was the latest inductee into the Sportstar Hall of Fame. Photo: John Veage.

Entertainment at the 2012 Leader Tynan Honda Sportstar awards. Photo: John Veage.

Entertainment at the 2012 Leader Tynan Honda Sportstar awards. Photo: John Veage.

Wanda surf lifesaving club is the Local sports club/association champion. Photo: John Veage.

Wanda surf lifesaving club is the Local sports club/association champion. Photo: John Veage.

Masters winner goes to Triathlete Michael Maroney. Photo: John Veage.

Masters winner goes to Triathlete Michael Maroney. Photo: John Veage.

Masters winner goes to Triathlete Michael Maroney. Photo: John Veage.

Masters winner goes to Triathlete Michael Maroney. Photo: John Veage.

The 2012 Disability award goes to Nicole Harris. Photo: John Veage.

The 2012 Disability award goes to Nicole Harris. Photo: John Veage.

The 2012 Leader Tynan Honda Junior sportstar of the year is Athlete Jarrod Cullen. Photo: John Veage.

The 2012 Leader Tynan Honda Junior sportstar of the year is Athlete Jarrod Cullen. Photo: John Veage.

The Junior runner up award winner is Brent Smith. Photo: John Veage.

The Junior runner up award winner is Brent Smith. Photo: John Veage.

The Horrie Maher junior encouragement award goes to Baseballer Maddison Lenard. Photo: John Veage.

The Horrie Maher junior encouragement award goes to Baseballer Maddison Lenard. Photo: John Veage.

All school team award winners were the Danebank Anglican school for girls. Photo: John Veage.

All school team award winners were the Danebank Anglican school for girls. Photo: John Veage.

Senior team award.The Sutherland Shire Netball first division team. Photo: John Veage.

Senior team award.The Sutherland Shire Netball first division team. Photo: John Veage.

The junior team award goes to the Cronulla CraysU/14 Beach sprinters. Photo: John Veage.

The junior team award goes to the Cronulla CraysU/14 Beach sprinters. Photo: John Veage.

MC Peter Hadfieldmeets his biggest fan Blake Toohey. Photo: John Veage.

MC Peter Hadfieldmeets his biggest fan Blake Toohey. Photo: John Veage.

The show begins at the 2012 Leader Tynan Honda Sportstar awards. Photo: John Veage.

The show begins at the 2012 Leader Tynan Honda Sportstar awards. Photo: John Veage.

WINNER – MICHAEL MARONEY

Category - Local Sports Club/Association Champion Award

Sponsor – Doltone House + St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – WANDA SURF LIFE SAVING CLUB

Category - Hall of Fame

Sponsor – Sutherland Shire Council + St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – GLENN McGRATH

Category - Senior Encouragement Award

Sponsor – Hurstville City Council + St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – CONNOR O’LEARY

Category - Senior Runner Up Award

Sponsor – Hurstville City Council + St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNERS – ALICIA McCORMACK, NICOLA ZAGAME, HOLLY LINCOLN-SMITH

Category - Senior Sportstar of the Year Award

Sponsor – Hurstville City Council + St George & Sutherland Shire Leader + Tynan Honda

WINNER – KAARLE McCULLOCH

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