Published: 17 March 2015

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I wish to speak briefly on adjournment to acknowledge the significant achievements of some Tasmanian sportspersons, in particular Richie Porte.  Richie Porte achieved an amazing win in very tricky conditions in the Paris-Nice on Sunday.  This young Tasmania has indeed done us proud and we may see him on other podiums in the future, possibly even the Tour de France.

To provide a little detail of his achievement I will quote from today's Mercury, both from the news section and the editorial.  I quote: 

Tasmania's Richie Porte mastered tricky conditions to win Paris-Nice for the second time after being fastest in Sunday's final time-trial stage.  Porte trailed overnight leader Tony Gallopin by 36 seconds going into the 9.5 kilometre or 5.9 mile race against the clock from Nice to Col d'Eze, but was the quickest to climb the moderate ascent and won the stage in 20 minutes 23 seconds.  Gallopin finished 1.39 behind Porte to slip to sixth overall. 

It goes on to say: 

Porte, who became the first Australian to win the week-long race two years ago denied Gallopin's hopes of becoming the first French champion since Laurent Jalabert in 1997. 

'It feels a little bit sweeter than the last one', said Porte.  '36 seconds is a lot but I was reasonably confident this morning.  I ride this climb so many times in training.  I think I probably rode it faster in training than I did today.' 

Richie Porte's achievement adds to the many outstanding achievements of other Tasmanians, including Jack Hale, a 16-year-old who took out the national under 18 100 metre race in the scintillating time of 10.38 seconds.  Unfortunately an illegal tailwind means his quick time will not be counted.  Regardless, this is still an outstanding achievement. 

This fantastic result followed Tasmanian boxer Luke Jackson's victory in Toowoomba securing the Australian Featherweight title.  To add to this, Mr President, we would all be aware of Tasmanian cricketer James Faulkner's, recent performances and according to experts in these matters - possibly yourself - he is on the verge of proving to be the world's greatest one‑day game finisher. 

The Mercury editorial asks the question, 'Why does Tasmania, such a small and remote island state, produce so many world‑class athletes and sporting champions?  How does Tassie do it?'  It is a good question when you look through a list - just a snapshot - of these sports people.  There is not one obvious factor. 

To quote the Mercury again: 

It is not the first time this question has been asked.  In fact, people have been musing over this for decades.  How does such a small island produce two of the greatest cricketers to play for Australia - David Boon and Ricky Ponting.  As for cycling, the list of champs goes all the way back to the 1970s and the brilliant international career of Danny Clark.  Then there's Michael Grenda and Matthew Goss and on and on. 

Champion Aussie Rules footballer Peter Hudson still holds the major competition's goal kicking record and the likes of Darrell Baldock, Royce Hart and Matthew Richardson are regarded as greats of the national game. 

Then we have Australian hockey star Eddie Ockenden and Olympians Sam Beltz, Scott Brennan, Anthony Edwards, Stephanie Grant, Hollie Grima, Kerry Hore, and the list goes on. 

And it goes on to say: 

Perhaps the most significant lesson to learn from this continued sporting success is that it makes a mockery of the myth Tasmanians cannot be competitive in the national or global environment and this applies to business and the arts as well. 

We should not let the size of our island or its population dampen our expectations in any field.  As our sports champs have shown it is just a matter of application and self-belief. 

I pay tribute to the achievements of all these sports people, particularly the win on Sunday by Richie Porte in the Paris-Nice.

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