South Australian eye surgeon Dr. James Muecke has been named 'Australian of the Year 2020' while world no1 woman tennis player Ashleigh Barty has been named 'Young Australian of the Year'. The announcements were made on Saturday night at the National Arboretum in Canberra.
Dr. Muecke was nominated for his work in preventing blindness and establishing a social impact organisation called 'Sight for All'. In his acceptance speech, he said that it was a tremendous honour. He further said, “As an eye surgeon, I often see patients at the end stage of their diabetes when it's too late to save their sight. What saddens me greatly is that in most of the cases, such complications are avoidable, whether through lifestyle changes or more disciplined health checks."
He plans to use his national platform to challenge Australians' perception of sugar and the impact it has on the development of type 2 diabetes. He went on to say that his mission this year was to get back to the root cause of this disease. “This year, I want to challenge our perception of sugar, our relationship with sugar, and the impact that it has on the development of diabetes,'' he said.
On the other hand, tennis player Ashleigh Barty who is the world’s No.1 women’s tennis player was named the 2020 'Young Australian of the Year'. She was praised for inspiring fans with her dynamic game and down to earth attitude. Barty, who was not present to accept the award on Saturday night, was surprised earlier in the day in Melbourne in the Australian Open. While receiving the award she said that it was very bizarre. She added that she is just trying to be the best that she can every single day. She said, “It was important to focus on being your authentic self in all you did and striving as high as you could.”