In 2015 Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, riding Prince of Penzance. After claiming the nation’s most prestigious horseracing event, Payne took a cheeky shot at the “chauvinistic” naysayers who doubted the abilities of women in the industry.
“I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because women can do anything and we can beat the world,” Payne famously said. Her speech sparked a larger debate about the inclusion of and attitudes towards women in racing. This month actress Rachel Griffiths revealed she was making a film about Payne’s incredible journey.
Few people can master one sport and compete at the top level, but Perry has achieved just that as a star in football and cricket. Perry is the first female athlete to play in the cricket and football World Cup for Australia, winning the Twenty20 title with the Southern Stars just last year and had a memorable goal against Sweden at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Only recently has the 25-year-old been forced to make a larger commitment to one sport over the other, with cricket taking preference. Perry remains one of the world’s best all-rounders in women’s cricket.
A knee injury hurt her 2015 world title defence but Gilmore remains a massive threat to add to her six world champion crowns. Layne Beachley holds the record with seven, and you get the feeling that Gilmore won’t be content in retiring until she’s bettered or at least equalled that mark. A big 2016 lies ahead.
Last year despite disappointing performances in the majors Stosur had two tour victories at Strasbourg and Bad Gastein, and is still the top-ranked Aussie in women’s tennis (world no. 28). The 2011 US Open Champion and four-time Grand Slam doubles champion led the Aussies to victory over Slovakia last month in the Fed Cup and looks set for strong year on tour.
Geitz is one of the biggest names in netball. The Aussie Diamonds star has had a stellar record since taking over the captaincy just a few years ago. Among her biggest achievements as captain was ending the country’s 12-year hoodoo against New Zealand to win gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and helping defeat the Silver Ferns again at the Netball World Championships in 2015. Last season her Queensland Firebirds (which she also captains) scored a nailbiting one-goal victory over NSW in the ANZ Championship.
LISA DE VANNA
Three World Cup appearances (scoring at least one goal at each tournament), one Asian Cup title, a FIFA Puskas Award nomination, three W-League Championships and a historic 2016 Olympics qualification — it’s not hard to see why De Vanna is considered one of the greatest ever Australian footballers. And the speedy striker doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. The Matildas co-captain was instrumental in helping the national team qualify for the Rio Olympics for their first Games appearance in 12 years and will be key to their medal hopes. De Vanna is also set to return as captain of Melbourne City in the W-League, after completing an undefeated championship-winning season last year.
The 32-year-old battled injury in recent years, but is still hopeful of another Olympics appearance. In three Olympic Games appearances Meares has an incredible five gold medals, three silver and two bronze and she is also a five-time Commonwealth Games champion. A world class cyclist across four different disciplines, Meares’ talent cannot be underestimated.
Lanning is one of the most exciting female cricketers around right now, and she’s only 23. With 45 ODI caps and 61 Twenty20 international caps already to her name, Lanning is a star of the national squad. Her most famous batting performance was at the last T20 World Cup in 2014 (that Australia won) in which she smashed 126 from just 65 balls against Ireland and top scored against England in the final. She’ll be hoping for a repeat performance at the same tournament starting next week.
The Queenslander has a phenomenal record after more than twenty years on the LPGA Tour, with 41 wins, more than any other active player. Boasting a whopping 57 total professional wins she remains the country’s most successful current golfer. Despite slipping from the world no. 1 ranking (now 32nd), at 41 years of age she is still a common sight on leaderboards around the world and Webb is a top chance to represent Australia at the Rio Olympics where golf has been included for the first time since 1904.
Cate Campbell, Torah Bright, Katrina Gorry, Gai Waterhouse, Penny Taylor, Kim Crow, Jessica Fox, Katrina Gorry, Kyah Simon, Ellia Green, Molly Taylor, Jenni-Sue Hoepper, Minjee Lee, Lauren Jackson, Madonna Blyth, Tracey Hanna, Caroline Buchanan […]