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Alisa Michelle Denne
b. 29 December 1975
Ali (as she is more commonly known) comes from a family of committed sports players and administrators who have always excelled in their endeavours. Ali certainly excelled in hers, representing her country on many occasions. In order to reach that level of achievement she had to overcome many hurdles. Tasmanian softball has traditionally struggled to match its interstate counterparts necessitating her move to Brisbane to reach the top level of competition.
Then, while playing at her peak, Ali had to overcome a debilitating anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Ali started her career as a junior in Hobart, first representing her state in 1990 at the schools' under 16 national titles, then later in the under 19s, and in 1994 made her first senior state team.
In 1998, she moved to Brisbane to access advanced coaching and high performance programs. This resulted in her being chosen for Queensland state teams, but she remained a fiercely loyal and proud Tasmanian.
In 2000, her first of 58 national representative games saw her play in the Brisbane Invitational Challenge where Australia won a silver medal. Ali was awarded an Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) scholarship and became a member of the AIS women's softball squad in 2001.
2001 was a great year for Ali and Australian softball. She was named in the Australian team for the Canada Cup, which is widely regarded as the annual pinnacle event for international softball. During that tournament, she represented her country on 11 occasions, winning a silver medal against the best teams in the world.
In most sports, there are highs and lows. 2002 saw both for Ali. Selected for the world championships, Ali was unable to participate in that tournament due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament but thankfully, had a subsequent successful operation.
2003 saw Ali selected in two more overseas tours, allowing her to play another 22 games for her country.
The Olympic Games in Athens loomed large for all of Australia's sporting achievers and Ali was amongst those who realised her dream of being selected to represent her country at an Olympic Games. However, Ali was cruelly denied this opportunity due to a further knee injury on the eve of the games – an event she so clearly deserved to take part in.
It was a heartbreaking moment and later forced her early retirement from the game.
Ali demonstrated outstanding character and resilience by maintaining a positive approach to her sport and life following such high disappointment. She is a role model for all athletes.
Despite her premature exit from the game, Ali Denne is regarded as the best softballer Tasmania has ever produced and her excellence was recognised when she was awarded a Softball Australia Service Award in 2003 for her outstanding contribution to the sport.