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Sport salutes its elite as VC men lend hand

ACTSport has called on an Australian military hero to present a new award at the Sportstar of the Year dinner at Woden on Friday.

The Canberra Times can reveal Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith will be at the function to present the inaugural ACT Local Sports Hero award.

While the night is largely focused on the capital's sporting elite, the hero accolade will go to a Canberran who has gone through major adversity in the sporting year.

Roberts-Smith and fellow Victoria Cross recipient Keith Payne will be at the dinner, as well as Olympic gold medal winner Malcolm Page and Paralympian Evan O'Hanlon.

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour ''in the face of the enemy'' and it's fitting Roberts-Smith will be on hand to congratulate the ACT hero.

The night will recognise a superb year in Canberra sport with Olympic medal winners, W-League champions and NBA stars in line for top prizes.


But before Canberra United finds out whether it wins the team of the year award, the W-League winners have recruited a star international to bolster their ranks for their title defence.

Nikki Washington could play her first game less than 48 hours after arriving in Australia after joining her new Canberra teammates for the first time at training on Thursday night.

United will return to W-League action with a clash against Sydney FC on Saturday morning.

And it is hoped United States junior representative Washington will add speed to the Canberra attack in the absence of Ashleigh Sykes.

Sykes is injured and Washington has been signed as a replacement for the next three games.

If she impresses, coach Jitka Klimkova has an option to extend Washington's stay for the remainder of the season as Canberra chases consecutive titles.

''I'm really excited, I've heard a lot of good things about Canberra and playing in Australia,'' Washington said.

''The timing was just really good for me because it's in between the American season … I'm learning about Canberra United and the coaches but I'm hoping it's going to be great.''

United could get a major boost ahead of the match with Klimkova nominated for the ACT coach of the year award and the squad in contention for team of the year at the ACT Sportstar dinner in Woden.

United will be up against the Canberra Heat volleyballers and rogaine duo Julie Quinn and David Baldwin in the team category.

The W-League champion is up for the gong after a stellar 2011-12 season, during which it went undefeated and secured a grand final triumph.

Klimkova is in a tough category as coach of the year with Canberra Capitals WNBL guru Carrie Graf and athletics coach Matt Beckenham .