Laura Geitz immortalised in bronze at BEC
THE unveiling of a bronze statue of netballer Laura Geitz outside the Brisbane Entertainment Centre (BEC) is lauded as an important milestone in the public recognition of women's achievements in Queensland sport.
The 2.6 metre statue of Laura in full flight for the Queensland Firebirds was unveiled today outside the Boondall centre, the venue for so many of the team's on-court battles.
The Queensland Firebirds are the only team in the history of the then ANZ Championship to win back-to-back finals and the only club to capture three titles.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Laura and the Firebirds had taken netball to a whole new level.
"Her captaincy especially in last year's grand final was truly inspirational," the Premier said.
"As a champion netballer, Laura is a stand-out athlete and a wonderful role model deserving of every tribute, every accolade.
"She's the shining, proud face of netball at a time when the game and women's sport in general are enjoying unprecedented public support.
"While we have statues around Brisbane of several of our male sporting heroes - including one of the great masters of the hoop, basketballer Leroy Loggins - Laura is the first of many champion Queensland sportswomen to be recognised this way," the Premier said.
Laura Geitz's international career includes leading the Australian Diamonds to a Commonwealth Games gold medal and two Netball World Cup gold medals.
She is currently an Ambassador for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The sculpture was the brainchild of AEG Ogden Chairman and CEO Harvey Lister and Chief Operating Officer Rod Pilbeam.
The work was jointly funded by the Queensland Government through Stadiums Queensland and AEG Ogden who met the full costs of its production.
The Brisbane Entertainment Centre is a venue of Stadiums Queensland and managed by AEG Ogden.
Mr Lister said it was fitting Laura's statue now joined the sculpture of Leroy Loggins at the BEC, where both enjoyed so many triumphs on the court inside.
"I am full of praise for sculptor Liam Hardy who has given Queenslanders a remarkable likeness of Laura in full flight," Mr Lister said.
Mr Hardy has completed several Queensland public art works, most notably the Arthur Beetson Memorial and the Mal Meninga Tribute statues at Suncorp Stadium.
Mr Hardy said it took up to 700 man hours to complete the sculpture from concept design and research right through to the bronze casting and handover.
"This project was very rewarding to show Laura's wonderful athleticism," he said.
"She's a remarkable athlete who has done such an incredible amount for her sport and Australian women in sport in general.
"Working with Laura was a delight. She's such a lovely and humble person. It was a pleasure to meet her."