Rohanee Cox has been named as the winner of the prestigious 2008 Eddie Gilbert Medal after taking out the Regional Award for North Queensland. She was announced as the recipient of the Medal on Friday 7 November at the Oz Minerals Queensland Indigenous Sport Awards night at the Sofitel in Cairns.
Cox follows in the footsteps of Johnathan Thurston who won the first ever Eddie Gilbert Medal in 2007. The Medal is presented to a person who has made a strong and lasting contribution to the profile of not only their own sport but sport in general within their region.
She is a co-captain of the Townville Fire and was a member of the Australian Basketball Team that won the Silver Medal at the Olympics earlier this year as the first Indigenous woman to represent Australia in Olympic Basketball.
Originally from Broome in Western Australia, she was talent identified in her early teens which lead to the AIS in Canberra and valuable training time with Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor and Suzy Batkovic. Cox took an unexpected career break when she fell pregnant with her daughter Alyriah, now seven, and suffered a major setback a few years ago when she had a knee reconstruction.
Cox was named the Townville Fire’s MVP for season 2007/08 and is role model for Indigenous and under privileged children in the greater Townsville community and Gulf area. She was also awarded the Female Sportsperson of the Year at this year’s Deadly Awards and was a nominee for the Mazda/The Courier-Mail Queensland Sportswoman of the Year.
She won the Medal ahead of other regional winners such as NBL player Nathan Jawai (Far North Queensland), hockey volunteer Roneece Cuppitt (South East Queensland), athlete Joshua Ah Wong (Central Queensland), Rabbitohs player Chris Sandow (South West), touch footballer Patrick Tamwoy (Torres Strait) and Normanton Stingers Rugby League Team member Phillip Harrison (North West Queensland).
Her first hurdle on her way to winning the Medal was to beat a very strong nomination from North Queensland Cowboys player Ty Williams in the North Queensland Regional Award. He received glowing tributes for his courageous comeback from injury this year.
Williams attended the dinner and presented awards to the local young Indigenous athletes who had represented the Peninsula region in school sport in 2008. Students presented awards on the night included:
• Shannaiya Ferns-Tatipata – Hockey • Dalijah Martens – Track & Field • Travis Ambrum – Track & Field
Joel Hagan, 12, was awarded the Leigh-Anne Goodwin Youth Award for his achievements in Rugby League, AFL and athletics. This year he was named in the U12 Queensland Teams for both league and AFL and was also a member of the Queensland athletics team. He broke the 100m sprint record at Darling Downs regional level and almost broke the Queensland U12 100m record at QEII.
Hagan also won the Robbie Williams Encouragement Award which is awarded to an emerging Indigenous sports person who is believed can go on to achieve great things in sport. It is presented in honour of Robbie Williams who passed away in 2007. Williams, through his role as ATSIC commissioner, provided a strong voice and was at the forefront of advancing Indigenous causes. He created the annual First Contact Sports and Cultural Festival in Brisbane, which is now its 15th year, and was integral in First Contact’s Regional Sports Program which now provides assistance to over 7000 individuals, communities, clubs and teams annually across more than 50 sporting codes.
A number of special guests and past and present Indigenous Sports people attended the Awards night including Cairns Mayor Val Schier, ISQ Patron and former jockey Darby McCarthy, Western Bulldogs player Jarrod Harbrow and former AFL player Darryl White.