Ironman enters the hall of fame

Winners, grinners (above): Sportstar winners and their presenters led by (centre) Sportstar of the Year Billy Dib (left) and Craig Alexander. Picture: Lisa McMahonAN emotional Craig Alexander, the triple Ironman triathlon world champion, joined other greats when he became the latest inductee into the Leader’s sporting Hall of Fame.
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Watching him at the Leader-Tynan Honda Sportstar dinner at Doltone House, Sylvania Waters were other sporting greats like league legend Johnny Raper, tennis star Ken Rosewall, cricket star Brian Booth and runner Albie Thomas — all members of the Hall of Fame — who lauded the amazing feats of Alexander, known affectionately as ‘‘Crowie’’.

The world Ironman triathlon held in the heat and humidity of Kona, Hawaii each year is regarded as the toughest one-day sporting event on the planet.

It tests athletes over a 3.8 kilometre swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km marathon run.

Craig Alexander started Ironman triathlons relatively late in life, at the age of 33, after mastering the half Ironman and shorter triathlons.

‘‘Alexander the great’’ followed previous Ironman winners Greg Welch, Michellie Jones and Chris McCormack, all from the Sutherland Shire, in the sport and became this country’s greatest Ironman.

In the past five years he has finished second and fourth and won it three times, including last October when he set a course record and became the oldest Ironman world champion at 38.

He also set a first by winning both the world half Ironman and the Ironman World Championship in the same year.

Less than a fortnight ago he set the fastest time on home soil in winning the inaugural Melbourne Ironman, the biggest Ironman race ever held in Australia.

His award presentation by Sutherland mayor Carol Provan moved Alexander to tears and, in an inspiring speech, he generously praised his wife Nerri.

‘‘More important than my wins is my wife and children … I can’t thank them enough for the support,’’ he said.

* Dragons five-eighth and good friend, Jamie Soward, praised the announcement of world boxing champion Billy Dib as Sportstar of the Year.

‘‘He deserved it,’’ Soward said. ‘‘He will have bigger and better fights this year and, hopefully, he holds that belt for a long time.’’

Posted by at 31/05/2018
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