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|Steve Waugh gets Australian of the year award|
Sunday, January 25 2004 15:04 Hrs (IST)
Waugh, 38, was representing his New South Wales (NSW) state team in a domestic match against Western Australia when the announcement was made in the National capital.
Waugh was recognised not only for his sporting prowess but also his contribution to humanitarian causes and charity, including his work with an orphanage in India that helps the children of leprosy sufferers.
In a video statement from Perth, Waugh said on Sunday he was honoured. "I've said before what a great privilege it is to represent your country," he said. "This award takes this privilege to a new and totally unbelievable level for me.
"In accepting I hope the award will help to focus more and to do more than just cricket. If it is meant as a recognition in some way of the other work I've done in the community in Australia and in India then I'm grateful indeed."
Waugh ended his 168-Test International career with an emotional farewell earlier this month at the final Test against India in front of his hometown crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was nominated for the award but missed out, possibly because of controversy that erupted when he fed a crocodile while also holding his month-old baby Bob in early January.
Waugh is the third former Test captain to win the award in cricket-mad Australia, following Mark Taylor in 1999 and Allan Border in 1989.
Other sporting stars given the honour are runners Cathy Freeman, tennis player Pat Rafter and swimmer Shane Gould.
Australia marks its National Day on Monday, marking the day white settlers arrived in Sydney in 1788.