Boost for women's sport
Cathy Freeman wins the 400m at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Photo: Rodolfo Carlos Pazos
Normally you get presents on your birthday, but as part of Canberra's centenary it wants to give Australia the gift of women's sport.
Canberra stands alone as the only capital city where women's sport is prominent, a fact highlighted by The Canberra Times winning the Australian Sports Commission's ''Best coverage of women in sport'' award for 2012.
More than 100 of Australia's elite sportswomen and administrators have descended on the nation's capital for a one-day conference, followed by the Centenary of Canberra Sportswomen's Ball on Wednesday night.
Dawn Fraser at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Fraser won four Olympic gold medals during her career. Photo: Vic Wright
The ball will cap off the day by naming the top 100 Australian female athletes of all time and the greatest female team.
Legendary larrikin Dawn Fraser, two-time Wimbledon champion Evonne Goolagong, sprint star Cathy Freeman and surfer Layne Beachley are just a few of the names competing for the top gong, with Queanbeyan's queen of the squash court Heather McKay also a realistic chance.
Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid said the conference was about sharing the Canberra model with the rest of Australia.
Evonne Goolagong with the women's Wimbledon trophy in 1971.
She said Canberra's smaller size was key to the support of women's sport in the nation's capital.
It gave all sports access to local government, the media and business community.
Reid said having three teams - the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL, Canberra United in the W-League and the ACT Meteors in the WNCL - in national competitions played over summer was also key.
And she emphasised the role the Caps had played in forming that landscape. The seven-time WNBL champions have paved the way for women's sport in Canberra.
The conference will construct a set of recommendations to enhance women's sport in Australia, to be presented to federal Minister for Sport Kate Lundy.