Kerry Saxby-Junna walks in to Hall of Fame

Kerry Saxby
Kerry Saxby Jacklyn Wagner

RETIRED race walker Kerry Saxby-Junna can now add Australian Athletics Hall of Fame to her long list of achievements.

Saxby-Junna, who was born at Young in 1961 before moving to Ballina where she grew up, was inducted at a luncheon in Federation Square, Melbourne on Friday.

The induction can be seen as a final recognition of her achievements in more than 18 years of international competition where she represented Australia in 24 international events.

"The highlight of my career was probably when I got a telegram to say I had been selected to compete in Italy as a young athlete," Saxby-Junna told the Athletics Australia website.

"And that drove me to push for the 1987 World Championships.

"I didn't expect to do half the things I did and I am honestly amazed at how much I have done.

"I obviously need to thank whoever it was that got me to the Australian Institute of Sport, it was the best thing for my career without question.

"I have to thank my coach Craig Hilliard and of course my parents who were there for me at a very young age."

Saxby-Junna started out as a swimmer and middle-distance runner, but she changed to race walking when she was 20.

She competed in three Olympic Games in 1992, 1996, 2000 and retired in 2001.

However, her main events were not introduced into the Olympics until after her prime and the AIS selected her as one of their 25 "Best of the Best" in 2006.

Her parents Brian and Jan still live in the region and are still involved with the Ballina Athletics Club.

During her time in competition she held a record 27 Australian Championships and set 32 world records.

She won 13 international medals including World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Goodwill Games and World Indoors.

Saxby-Junna was also named AIS sportsperson of the year three times and Australian Sportswoman of the Year in 1989 and 1990.

She was also awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and an AM on Australia Day in 1992 for services to Australian Athletics.

Saxby-Junna, who now lives in Canberra returned to the Far North Coast last year to take part in the Ballina to Byron Bay 37km coastal walk.

Retired race walker Noel Freeman and world champion pole vaulter Dmitri Markov were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Topics:  athletics olympics

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