Australian golf star Jason Day has won ‘The Don Award’ for being the athlete who inspired the nation most during the past year.
Athletes and teams were eligible for the award, but the 27-year-old, who won his maiden major in 2015 – the US PGA Championship – and clinched the world number one ranking, was victorious.
Speaking on a video message from overseas, Day said the award topped off a remarkable year.
“Such a great year as this, to be able to cap it off with ‘The Don Award’, it goes down in my memory as one of the best years that I’ve ever had,” Day said.
“I’m looking forward to hopefully replicating or improving on years like this and really trying to represent not only myself but represent golf, and golf in Australia and also the Australian nation around the world, the best I possibly can.
“I’d like to congratulate the other 11 nominees – what a fantastic year they’ve had.
“All the way from the Socceroos to Mick Fanning punching a bloody shark in the face, it’s been an amazing year for all the 11 other nominees.”
Day’s mother, Dening, accepted the award on his behalf at the Sport Australia Hall Of Fame awards ceremony at the MCG on Wednesday night.
He is the second golfer in three years to take home the gong after Adam Scott won it in 2013.
Day was nominated alongside surfers Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson, NFL convert Jarryd Hayne and 11-time world cycling champion Anna Meares after the initial list of 12 nominees was whittled down.
Track cycling star Ryan Bayley, Paralympian Priya Cooper, swimmer Leisel Jones, MotoGP racer Casey Stoner, rugby league footballer Norm Provan, cricket great Ricky Ponting, canoeing administrator Helen Brownlee, and rugby and soccer boss John O’Neill were inducted into the hall of fame.
– with ABC