By Greg Johnson in Melbourne, Australia
Track cyclist Anna Meares became only the second female to take the prestigious Sir Hubert Opperman medal at the Cycling Australia awards on Sunday evening. Meares collected the medal to a standing ovation by her peers, with the award joining the Female Track Cyclist of the Year and Scody People's Choice Rider of the Year awards she had taken out earlier in the evening.
"Thank you very much, I'm so honoured to win this award," said an emotional Meares. "I never thought I could win this thing, despite all the records the road riders are just too good. It is such a great honour to be able to inscribe my name on the trophy of the great Sir Hubert Opperman."
Earlier in the evening Meares brought a tear to the eye of all in attendance as she broke down recalling the emotional ride she experienced throughout the season. The South Australian-based Queenslander conveyed her gratitude to coach Marvin Barras and also her fellow Australian track team-members, who helped her throughout her recovery.
"I had a really long speech before because I never thought I could win this award," said Meares. "I think it would just be a fitting end to this evening if I could ask my teammates to come up here and accept this award with me."
See the full report, photos and a complete list of winners from the 2008 Cycling Australia awards.