Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
Category: Sports Hall of Fame
In 1982 The Commonwealth Games were held in Brisbane. During those games, events were televised throughout the country. One of Australia’s most successful runners Raylene Boyle was competing and the television coverage of the games featured her running in the women’s 400 metres final. School children from around Australia watched with pride as our Australian athlete streaked ahead to win the gold medal.
At that time there was a girl in grade six at the Tatura primary school who was so excited watching Rayleen’s win that she made a decision to dedicate herself to run for her country in the 400 meters. It was a decision that would change the course of Lee Naylor’s life and come to fruition in later years when she had a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal of her own. Lee trained hard to compete in the school athletic sports during her secondary school days at Mooroopna and not only performed with class in her local events but won places to appear at inter school, regional events and at state level where she came under notice as an athlete with much promise. Following her secondary education, Lee moved to Melbourne to attend university. She enjoyed the opportunity to continue her love of athletics and compete against the best athletes in the state. The name of Lee Naylor would become well known in women’s athletics. Her success saw her competing at National events and Australian championships specialising in 400 metres running. Lee joined the Australian Athletics team at the World Cup in Cuba in 1992 and London in 1994. Her first big break came in 1994 when she was selected to run for Australia in the Victoria, Canada Commonwealth Games, competing in the 400 metres event and the 4x400 metres relay. She had gained recognition at National level. The next year (1995) she joined the Australian team at the Gothenburg World Championships and won a Bronze Medal in the 4x 400 metres relay.
Her first Olympic selection came in 1996 as a 400 metres runner in the Atlanta Olympic Games. Whilst not able to make the final at Atlanta, success was just around the corner as she was presented with a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal as a member of Australia’s successful 4x 400 metres relay team at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games. Her dream which was sparked by a Rayleen Boyle Gold Medal had been realised. She also competed in the 1998 World cup that year in Johannesburg. In 1999 in Seville Spain, she won a relay Bronze medal at the world championships.
Lee had become a world class athlete. However nothing could match her delight than her selection to run in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in her own country. She competed in the 400 metres event and was a member of the Australian team for the 4x400 metres relay.
Lee Naylor can be so proud that she was the first person from the City of Greater Shepparton to be chosen in the Australian track and field team in the Olympic Games. She is also the first City of Greater Shepparton Gold Medallist in Commonwealth Games track and field competition. Lee has led the way and hopefully sparked the imagination of other athletes to follow their dream of Olympic competition. Congratulations, Lee Naylor.