Nova Peris with Rechelle Hawkes at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic hockey medal ceremony.
Nova Peris with Rechelle Hawkes at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic hockey medal ceremony.
(Photo: news.com.au)

IN THE NEWS: Former Aussie international hockey star Nova Peris has always been something of a trailblazer in the sporting world, but now it seems that she is about to do the same in Australian politics.

According to various media reports, the 41-year-old – who as part of the Hockeyroos became the first ever indigenous Australian to win an Olympic Gold medal at the 1996 Games in Atlanta – could well become the first indigenous woman to sit in the Federal Parliament. On Tuesday (22nd January), Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that Peris would stand as a candidate for the senate in Australia’s Northern Territory at the 2013 election.

It is just the latest chapter in the life of a proud Aboriginal woman who had a genuinely remarkable sporting career. Following her ground-breaking Olympic Gold medal in hockey, she made the brave decision to switch to athletics with the focus of competing in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. Incredibly, she claimed two Gold medals on the track, winning the individual 200 metres and sharing in Australia’s 4x100 metres relay triumph. Peris also competed at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, where she reached the Semi Finals in the individual 400 metres before finishing 5th in the 4x400 metre relay.

Former Hockeyroos coach Ric Charlesworth – who himself was a Member of Parliament between 1983 and 1993 – considered Peris to be a key figure in his all-conquering team, describing her as one of the "three exceptional talents among the many great international competitors" in the side. Peris was also part of the Charlesworth-coached teams that won Gold medals at the Champions Trophy tournaments in 1993 (Amstelveen, NED) and 1995 (Mar del Plata, ARG), as well as the 1994 World Cup (Dublin, IRL).