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It was calm and still the day an Albany woman driven by instinct swam out to save the life of a fellow surf club member who had been attacked by a shark off Western Australia’s south coast.

Joanne Lucas’ bravery in doing so has earned her the Star of Courage, a bravery award which will presented by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

The 54-year-old mother of three had arrived at Middleton Beach, Albany, early on May 10 last year, ahead of a surf club event.

“It was very still and calm, and the sun was shining, and there were dolphins flipping about, a whole pod of dolphins …” Ms Lucas said.

But a short time later, a woman ran up the beach telling her a man had been attacked by a shark.

“I said: `No, no, it’s the dolphins’ and she said: `No it’s a shark’,” Ms Lucas said.

Ms Lucas said running down to the beach, driven by instinct and adrenalin, she stripped off her tracksuit pants and swam 80 metres to where fellow surf club member Jason Cull was critically injured, barely able to swim or tread water.

“It was a completely instinctive thing. I didn’t think: `There’s a shark out there maybe I shouldn’t go out there’,” she said.

“I just thought I’ve got to get this guy out and I’ve got to get him back in.”

All the while, the shark manoeuvred around the scene, with Ms Lucas fearing the frantic splashing of two nearby swimmers trying to scare it away would steer the shark toward her and Mr Cull.

She said she kicked harder and made it to shore where Mr Cull was treated for his injuries.

His leg was completely ripped open from his ankle right up to his knee and he had been “nipped” on the other knee, Ms Lucas said.     Article_shark-200x0

Ms Lucas said she was happy to see Mr Cull now back on his feet and cycling around the place.

Being awarded the star of courage was humbling, she said.

“I’m very honoured and humbled to receive this.”

Ms Lucas said she was quickly back on the beach after the attack.

“It hasn’t turned me off the ocean at all,” she said.

“I actually scan the ocean before I go in now …”

The governor-general is expected to present the star of courage to Ms Lucas at a ceremony early next year.

Source www.watoday.com.au

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SYDNEY (AFP) — Prime Minister Kevin Rudd officially launched Australia’s bid to host the football World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

Rudd told an official ceremony at Parliament House in the national capital Canberra that Football Federation Australia (FFA) had the full backing of the government to bid for the showpiece event.

“The sheer odds are tough against Australia, eight other countries, but the reason the government had got behind the bid is that we as a nation can rise behind this great bid,” Rudd said.aus_worldcup

The premier said the chance to host a World Cup was a great opportunity for the nation.                               

“The challenges are great, but the prize is much greater,” he said.

“I salute those who have had the courage and the initiative and creativity to bring forth this idea.”

English Premier League stars, national skipper Lucas Neill and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, also spoke at the launch, urging Australians to throw their support behind the World Cup bid.

FFA chairman Frank Lowy said it would be an “unparalleled opportunity” for Australia to earn official acceptance as a World Cup host.

“On the world stage, there is no event with the same level of global appeal or audience reach as the FIFA World Cup,” the property billionaire said in a statement.

Lowy said Australia?s “secret weapon” for winning the World Cup bid was the Australian people, and Australia’s desirability as a travel destination.

“People from all over the world want to visit our country and thanks to the performance of the Socceroos at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, as well as the many thousands of Australian fans who followed them, the rest of the world has a very positive view of us.”

Lowy also pointed to Australia’s record of hosting successful major sports events such as the 1956 and 2000 Olympic Games.

Australia are among nine bidders, along with Belgium-Netherlands, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Portugal-Spain, Russia and the United States, for the 2018 World Cup.

The same nine bidders are also in the running for the 2022 World Cup, along with Qatar and South Korea.

World football governing body FIFA will announce both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts in December 2010.

Australia have already qualified to play in next year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Source  :  www.google.com

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