On Friday night, the inaugural Greater Shepparton Sports Hall of Fame gala dinner was held at Shepparton’s Eastbank Centre. The event saw 27 local sports heroes recognised for their achievements at the highest level in their chosen sport and was masterly hosted by Don Kilgour. The inductees included such stars as Lee Naylor, Brett Lancaster, Louise Dobson OAM, Bruce Quick, Liz Boniello nee Taverner and Glenn James OAM to name a few.
Of course, badminton was represented by our very own champion, Mike Scandolera. On moving to Shepparton from Gippsland at age 15, he requested to play the SBA champion Ron Howell and beat him 15-6. He had a gruelling schedule, between late training nights in Melbourne and early mornings to milk the cows before heading to school, as well as all the travelling to compete at tournaments. At 18 years of age he became the youngest badminton player to represent Australia, competing at the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games, the pinnacle of badminton competition. At the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games he led the Australian team to bronze and, at the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games he partnered with Audrey Tucker to take gold. Supported by his wife Jan and family, it was an honour for John, Fiona and myself to witness Mike’s induction at the inaugural Greater Shepparton Sports Hall of Fame.
The Shepparton Badminton Association would like to congratulate Mike and the other 26 inductees, inspiration to us all, in all facets of life, not just sport. Including 102-year-old lawn bowler Edna Harling, who strode across the stage to receive her induction plaque to a standing ovation; an unforgettable moment.
Congratulations and thank-you to Don Kilgour and the Greater Shepparton Sports Hall of Fame Committee for this wonderful night with the great support of Mayor Dinny Adem, Greater Shepparton City Council and the Shepparton News.