A gala dinner was held on 27 November 2018 to induct five exceptional New South Wales athletes into the NSW Hall of Champions and announce the NSW Sports Awards.
The new inductees are netballer Catherine Cox, football player Julie Dolan AM, Jana Pittman from athletics, softball player Melanie Roche and motor racing’s Mark Skaife OAM.
Each year, the top sports men and women are nominated for selection by the peak sporting bodies of NSW. The Hall of Champions Selection Committee make their choice and final approval is given by the NSW Minister for Sport, The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP.
The NSW Hall of Champions is a sport museum and hall of fame that honours the achievements of NSW athletes who have been recognised amongst the nation’s best. Champion sportsmen and women are celebrated in the museum, along with great sporting moments and some of the most inspired performances throughout Australian history.
Catherine Cox made 108 Test appearances for Australia, seven times as captain. She had victories in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, 2007 and 2011 Netball World Cups, three Commonwealth Bank and two Trans-Tasman Premierships. Catherine captained the NSW Swifts to victory in the 2008 ANZ Championships.
Jana Pittman won gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2003 and 2007 World Championships. She won four Commonwealth Games gold medals in 2002 and 2006 in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay.
Julie Dolan is a pioneer of women's football in Australia. A Matildas team member for 14 years, and the first captain, she played 34 matches for Australia in 18 full internationals between 1979 and 1988.
Mark Skaife’s stellar career includes five Australian Touring Car/Supercars Championships, six Bathurst 1000 victories, three Australian Drivers Championships, 90 Race wins and 89 Podiums finishes between the late 1990s and 2000s.
A leading softball pitcher, Melanie Roche gained 229 caps for Australia between 1988 and 2008. She won three World Championship medals and four Olympic Games medals. She also played for US and Japanese teams.