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Ordinary Kiwis Help Paralympians

29 October 2005

Ordinary Kiwis Help Paralympians By Having Their Say In People’s Choice Sports Awards

New Zealanders voted for their favourite pop idol, now they’re being urged by the country’s top paralympians to have their say again and choose their favourite sports stars in the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards

Voting begins on Monday (October 31 2005) in the only sports awards which give New Zealanders a voice. And in voting for their favourite sports stars Kiwis will also help raise money for Paralympics New Zealand’s quest for medals at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008. Last year the awards raised more than $125,000.

“Paralympics New Zealand is something of a poor cousin compared to other sporting organisations. Our profile is growing but we need all the help that New Zealanders can give to get our athletes competition fit for Beijing in 2008. The Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards play an important role in our fundraising and we urge all Kiwis to vote now,”says Paralympics New Zealand CEO Craig Hobbs.

Money raised from this year’s awards will go towards Paralympics New Zealand’s high performance programme, a multi-million dollar initiative including training, coaching, equipment and sports medicine support costs. A key component of the programme is sending athletes to international competitions such as International Paralympic Committee World Championships and FESPIC Games to ensure they can compete at the highest level.

Unlike the long running Halberg Awards where selection is made by a committee, the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards lets Kiwis choose the sports people they think are most deserving of recognition.

Rachel Gardiner, sales and marketing manager of sponsor Freedom Air, says the awards offer people a chance to have their say. “Kiwis like to be involved and they love their sport. This is a perfect avenue for them to be heard.”

This year thousands of people nominated their selections in October with even more expected to vote for the finalists. The five team finalists will be announced on Monday night, with voting beginning immediately after.

There are six categories in this year’s awards with New Zealanders being able to choose their favourite sports team, coach, sporting icon, sports woman, sports man and international sports person.

The five finalists in each category are being announced each week on SKY Television and Sport Radio from October 31 to December 5. As soon as the finalists for each category are announced New Zealanders can vote for their favourite.

There are three ways to vote – via SKY Television Interactive, phone 0900 33334 or text 3334. Remote and SMS voting cost 99 cents including GST and 0900 voting costs 99 cents per minute. Proceeds from the awards will go to Paralympics New Zealand to help them in their quest for the Beijing Paralympics 2008.

Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards Key Dates 31 October Sports Team finalists announced 7 November Coach finalists announced 14 November Sporting Icon finalists announced 21 November Sportswoman finalists announced 28 November Sportsman finalists announced 5 December International finalists announced 8 December Voting for six main categories close (midnight) 9 December Gala Dinner & winners announced


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