THE Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame each year recognises a selection of national champions and Australian representatives from the area.
Typically, induction comes long after the achievements, and drive that took the athletes to the top, are done.
And while beach sprinter Lisa Wright, 32, is not planning a return to “serious competition”, she is still hungry for more state and national medals.
Wright returned from the birth of her first child, son Patrick, now 14 months, to claim gold medals in the 30-34 flags and beach sprint at the NSW masters surf lifesaving titles this year at Blacksmiths Beach. She backed that up with gold and bronze at nationals.
“I thought I’d get back into it, just to stay fit and I ended up racing,” Wright said.
“I was just training for fun, and I sort of got pushed into racing again.”
Wright started training in December and went to Swansea Belmont’s Angela Leadbeatter for advice about returning to competition as a mum. Leadbeatter has won multiple state and national open two-kilometre beach running titles while juggling motherhood.
“It’s amazing,” Wright said.
“After having a child, I’ve just improved so quickly. It's like starting again and I just keep getting faster and stronger and I’m very much enjoying it.
“I plan on racing this year. I’ve been training really hard in the off-season and really enjoying it, so fingers crossed I’ll be racing well.”
Wright rose to the top in 2004 when she won the women's beach flags title at the World Life Saving Championships in Viareggio, Italy. She was second in the 2006 edition in Lorne, Victoria.
Wright, a five-time NSW open champion, claimed the under-19s and open beach flags Australian titles in 2003.
In 2005, she was the national open female champion lifesaver and won the beach flags at the two-day International Surf Challenge while competing for Australia.
On Thursday night, Wright and eight other athletes will be welcomed into the Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame during a function at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club.
Wright, national aquathon title winner Nadine Watson, Socceroos goalkeeper David Bone, Olympic equestrian rider and coach Heath Ryan, Australian rugby union representatives Rebecca Smyth and Herbert Jones, drag-racing driver Kevin Pinkstone, motorcycle sidecar rider Alan Rae and featherweight boxing champion Thomas Chapman will join the 300-plus strong honour roll.
“It all came as a bit of a shock. I wasn’t expecting to be nominated and I’m very flattered that they would," Wright said. “It’s lovely. I’ve been really blown away by it.
“It’s really nice to be recognised and to be on a list with a record of your achievements that will be there forever.
“That’s the one thing in surf lifesaving, you can’t hold a time record
“It’s nice to have things like that where it does recognise you and it keeps a record that you actually raced and what you did.
“I look at the surf lifesavers who are there and they are such good athletes, so it’s so nice to be put in there beside them.
“It’ll set a good example, and make the kids know I wasn’t just a mum my entire life,” she laughed.
She said the highlight of her career was not the world title win.
“My highlight would’ve been the first time I won open state in flags,” she said. “It was at Swansea, my home club, and there were a lot of people there supporting me,
“I guess I hadn’t expected to win it. After that I got to the stage where people expected me to win and I felt that pressure, but going into that race I thought I’d do well but I didn't expect to win. Everyone was so excited for me and it was great to win without that expectation.”
Place of Birth: Newcastle
Watson, a member of the Swansea Belmont Surf Life Saving Club, won the Australian open and under-18 women's aquathon championships (5km run/1km swim) at Cronulla in 1990. She represented Australia at the World Biathlon Championships (1km swim/10km run) in Fiji and won the pointscore at the Winter Biathlon Series (1km swim/5km run) that same year.
Place of Birth: Adamstown
Sport: Football (goalkeeper)
Bone, an Adamstown junior, debuted in first grade for the club at 17. He switched to West Wallsend, where he played more than 350 first-division games. In 1954, he represented Australia against New Zealand in an exhibition match in Melbourne, which they lost 2-1. He went on to play for Australia in international friendlies against China and Austrian clubs Rapid and FK Austria.
Place of Birth: Kempsey
Sport: Motor racing
Pinkstone was a successful driver, competing in circuit racing, hillclimbs and drag racing in the 1960s and 70s. He won the 1973 middle class national drag racing title at Adelaide.
Place of Birth: Newcastle
Sport: Rugby Union
Bio: Herbert, a centre, played his early rugby with Carrington and went on to represent NSW 21 times between 1911 and 1914. He was part of the 23-man wallabies touring squad to he United States in 1912 but did not play in the lone Test. In 1913, he toured New Zealand with the Wallabies and played in three Tests against the All Blacks, scoring three tries. He was killed in action serving in World War 1 on November 4, 1916.
Place of Birth: Hebel, Queensland.
Thomas Chapman came to Newcastle to train with legendary coach Tom Maguire in 1939. In a career spanning almost nine years, Chapman had 72 fights for 48 wins with 39 by KO. He earned his place in the Hall of Fame when he won the Australian featherweight championship in 1944 with a fourth-round knockout of Victorian Eddie Miller at Rushcutters Bay.
Rebecca Smyth (nee Trethowan)
Place of Birth: Dubbo
Sport: Rugby Union
Smyth developed her talent in rugby with the University of Newcastle club. She debuted for NSW Country in 2004 and for Australia in 2006 while playing for University. She went on to play in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Women’s rugby world cups. The flanker also represented Australia against New Zealand in 2007 and in 2009 was player of the match in a World Cup qualifying match against Samoa. On the 2014 tour of New Zealand, she was named Australia's best.
Place of Birth: Newcastle
Sport: Motor Sport
Rae started in solo, short-circuit motorcycling competitions at age 16 and was racing NSW A-grade two years later. He switched to sidecar racing and in 1971 won the Australian junior and NSW junior and senior championships. In 1972, Rae claimed the Australian junior and sidecar titles. He retired in 1974.
Place of Birth: Westmead, NSW
Sport: Surf Lifesaving
Wright is a beach sprinter and flags competitor. She won the 2004 women's open beach flags title at the World Life Saving Championships in Viareggio, Italy, and was second in the 2006 edition in Lorne, Victoria. In 2003, she won the under-19s and open beach flags Australian titles. In 2005, she was the national open female champion lifesaver and won the beach flags at the two-day International Surf Challenge while competiting for Australia.
Place of Birth:
In 2008, Ryan was a member of the Australian dressage team for the Beijing Olympic Games. He was assistant coach for the Australian Olympic eventing team in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Ryan is also a three-time Australian Three-Day Event champion and two-time Australian Grand Prix Dressage winner. In 1990, he rode for Australia in the eventing team at the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm.
Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame
ATHLETES WITH A DISABILTY: Garry Hooper, Bob Staddon, Joseph Walker. Marilyn Mills, Alicia Jenkins, Liesl Tesch.
BADMINTON: June Bevan, June Carter, Jon Chin, June Walsh .
BASEBALL: Ron Russ
BASKETBALL: Terry Charlton, John Gardiner, Melva Hancock, Denis Kibble, Colyn Whitehead, Jenni Screen
BOXING: Harry Collins, Les Darcy, Fred Henneberry, William Jones, Phil McElwaine, William Morgan, Neville Rincheval, Dave Sands, Patrick Slavin, William Squires, Ken Stamford, Hector Thompson, Lyn Truscott, Robert Whitelaw.
BOARD SAILING: Grant Long, Michael Lancey, Bruce Wylie.
CRICKET: Anthony Stuart, Sarah Andrews, Arthur Chipperfield, Belinda Clark, Grahame Corling, Alan Davidson, Jim De Courcy, Gary Gilmour, Sally Griffiths, Robert Holland, Charles Macartney, Rick McCosker, Johnny Martin, Arthur Morris, Ray Robinson, Doug Walters, John Watkins, Paul Wilson.
CRICKET AND HOCKEY: Muriel Picton, Hazel Ronay.
CROQUET: John Levick.
CYCLING: Craig Chapman, Ian Chapman, Olivia Gollan, Margaret Hemsley, Robert Ryan, John Tresidder.
EQUESTRIAN: Kevin Bacon, John Fahey, Bridget MacIntyre, John Mackay Snr, John Mackay Jnr, Laurie Morgan.
FENCING: Alwyn Wardle.
FOOTBALL: Cliff Almond, George Arthur,Ray Baartz, John Barr, Alex Cameron, Norman Conquest, Bill Coolahan, Frank Coolahan, Clarrie Coutts, Colin Curran, Reg Date, Peter Doyle, Jack Evans, Alison Forman, Jack Gilmore, Ron Giles, Arch Harris, Alex Heaney, Jack Hughes, Ron Hughes, Graham Jennings, Allan Johns, Craig Johnston, E (Dick) Kemp, Jack Lennard, Percy Lennard, David Lowe, Jim McNabb, Roy McNaughton, Bill Mahoney, William Maunder, Billy Morgan, Bruce Morrow, Jack O’Brien, Kevin O’Neill, Tom Oliver, James Osborne, W (Ernie) Owen, Hedley Parkes, Jack (Jock) Parkes, Frank Parsons, John Pettigrew, Alfred Quill, John Roberts, William Rorke, Cheryl Salisbury, Danielle Small, Peter Stone, Doug Wendt, James Wilkinson, Shelley Youman, Bill Paddock.
GOLF: Phillip Billings, Billy Dunk, Gayle Gannon, Marea Hickey, Colin Johnston, Dayle Linnerston-Marshall, Jack Newton.
GYMNASTICS: Elizabeth Heslop.
HANG GLIDING: Rick Duncan, Kelvin Smith, Neva Bull.
HARNESS RACING: Dick Osborn.
HOCKEY: Allison Yeoland (nee Lippey), Michelle Andrews, Debbie Beckett, Ray Clarke, Olga Corrigan, Paul Dearing, Bev Dyet, Barbara Farrell, Nancye Fennell, Chris Fernance, Isobel Heath, Robyn Leggatt, Brooke Morrison, Lisa Naughton, Megan Oman, Julie Towers, Kristen Towers, Colleen Quinn, Joan Walter, Ray Wright, Alison Bruce.
HORSE RACING: Max Lees, Ted Bartle, Stanley Davidson, Wayne Harris, Rae Johnstone, James Pike, Arthur Shanahan, John Wade, Robert Thompson.
JUDO: Jim Black, Martin Kelly.
LAWN BOWLS: Nancy Childs, Fay Craig, Dave Downie, Helen Embleton, Sam Laguzza, Terry McCabe, Charles McNeill, Darby Ross, Barry Salter, Eve Wilcher.
MARTIAL ARTS: Greg Cairns, Ross Murphie.
MOTOR RACING: Grahame Baxter, Tony Pryor, John Pyne, Ron Pyne, Lloyd Thorley, Paul Cannon, Jack Threadgate.
MOTORCYCLE RACING: Keith Davies, Vic Duggan, Robert Jones, Wilfred Lamont, Chris Watson, Todd Wiltshire, Phil Lovett, George Watson, Herb Jefferson
NETBALL: Alison Broadbent, Lois Green, Nola Green.
ORIENTEERING: Terry Farrell
SHOOTING: Lloma Laws, Donald Brook
PROFESSIONAL RUNNING: Robert Watson.
ROWING: Ben Thoroughgood, George Towns, Richard Tresidder, Krysten Winkley, Margaret Clark.
RUGBY LEAGUE: Don Adams, Ned Andrews, Ron Bailey, William Bailey, Gary Banks, Allan Buman, Brian Carlson, Stan Carpenter, Arthur Collinson, John Cootes, Clive Churchill, Les Dawson, Keith Froome, Alf Gibbs, Jim Gibbs, Matthew Gidley, Charlie Gill, Johnny Graves, Paul Harragon, Jack Hutchinson, Andrew Johns, Les Johns, Matthew Johns, Bobby Lulham, Jim Morgan, Adam Muir, Edmund Lumsden, Ken Maddison, Robert Majoribanks, Col Maxwell, Herb Narvo, Andy Norval, Bill Owen, Terry Pannowitz, Albert Paul, Dave Parkinson, Ernie Patfield, Noel Pidding, Wally Prigg, Ron Roberts, Mark Sargent, John Sattler, Don Schofield, Frank Stanmore, Allan Thomson, Laurie Ward.
RUGBY UNION: Neil Adams, Cyril Burke, Terry Casey, Dick Cocks, Terry Curley, Ben Darwin, Anthony Ekert, Bill Gardner, Ron Harvey, John Hipwell, Peter Horton, Michael Jenkinson, Tobie McGann, Sydney Malcolm, Ron Meadows, Steve Merrick, Herbert Moran, Richard Tooth, Dominic Vaughan, Keith Walsham.
RUGBY UNION & RUGBY LEAGUE: Phillip Hawthorne, Geoff Richardson, Patrick Walsh.
SAILING: Colin Humphreys, Douglas Reid, Gary Bruniges.
SNOOKER: Eddie Charlton.
SOFTBALL: Linda Ward, Natalie Ward.
SPEEDBOAT RACING: Ken Warby.
SQUASH: Owen Parmenter.
SURFING: Roger Clements, Mark Richards, Mark Sainsbury.
SURF LIFESAVING: Barry Arms, Josh Blair, Harry Clark, Sean Davis, Jeffrey Dawson, Scott Derwin, Doug Ellercamp, Peter Ellercamp, Michael Jones, Leslie Lazurus, Bill McIntosh, Cliff Marsh, Kenneth Murray, Bob Newbiggin, Hec Scott, Noel Smith, Claude C Ward.
SWIMMING: Angie Bainbridge, Beverley Bainbridge, Lynette Bell, Peter Coughlan, Barbara Evans, Sonya Gray, Kevin Hallett, Harry Hay, John Hayres, Marguerite Jenkins, Gwen Millard, Justin Norris, Donna Proctor, Peter Reynolds, Ken Sever, Brian Wilkinson.
TABLE TENNIS: Gary Haberl.
TENNIS: Peter Doohan, Rachel McQuillan, Christine O’Neil.
TEN PIN BOWLING: Barbara Ward.
TOUCH: Gai Taylor.
TRACK AND FIELD: Mary Breen, Heath Francis, Linda Garden, Kevan Gosper, June Heath, Carolyn Lewis, Dianne Pease, David Power, Warren Ryan, Janet Tully, Erica Willis.
TRAMPOLINING: Brett Austine.
WATER SKIING: Christopher Cockburn, Garry Barton, Deborah Pugh, Peter Wellham.
WEIGHTLIFTING: Gerald Hay, Greg Hayman, Charles Henderson, John Powell, Arthur Shannos, Jerry Shannos.
YACHTING: Albert Burgin, Ben Lexcen.