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2007 Westpac Halberg Awards Finalists Announced

January, 2008

2007 Westpac Halberg Awards Finalists Announced

Outstanding performances by New Zealand rowers and athletes at World championship level last year have been reflected in the finalists selected for the 2007 Westpac Halberg Awards.

Rowing and athletics are the only sports with finalists selected in three of the four categories. Single scullers Mahe Drysdale and Duncan Grant (sportsman), the men’s coxless 4 and coxless pair, women’s double scull (team), plus Calvin Ferguson and Chris Nilsson (coach) dominate their categories while athletics has mountain runner Jonathan Wyatt (sportsman), Valerie Vili (sportswoman) and Kirsten Hellier (coach) nominated.

Rugby, which last year dominated the finalists and was the only sport with nominations in all four categories - Westpac Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team plus SPARC Coach of the year, had to settle for a single nomination in 2007 - Gordon Tietjens in the coach category. This is the first time since 2000 that rugby does not have a single nomination for the Halberg Award (sportsman, woman or team).

Outstanding efforts off Valencia during the America’s Cup have also been rewarded with Team New Zealand (team category) and Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth (sportsman) among the finalists.

There are 12 finalists named in the three categories eligible of the Supreme Halberg Award - Westpac Sportsman (5), Sportswoman (4), Sports Team (4), plus a further four in the SPARC Coach of the Year category.

In addition four finalists have been named in the new Westpac Emerging Talent category, limited to individuals who have not yet achieved international success at elite senior level, which carries a $25,000 scholarship from Westpac. They are Emma Twigg (rowing), Danny Lee (golf), Edward Dawkins (cycling) and Brendan Hartley (motor sport).

The awards organised each year by The Halberg Trust, salute outstanding achievements by New Zealanders in sport at home and overseas over the 12-month calendar period. All category winners and the Halberg Award recipient, widely regarded as the ultimate accolade for sporting excellence by a New Zealander, will be announced during a glittering black tie dinner at the Christchurch Convention Centre on Tuesday, February 19 2008.

In the Westpac ‘Sports Team of the Year’ category Emirates Team New Zealand is flanked by three rowing crews - the men’s pair of George Bridgewater and Nathan Twaddle, the women’s double scull of Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell and the men’s coxless four.

In the Westpac ‘Sportsman of the Year’ category the finalists are headed by 2006 Halberg Award winner, Mahe Drysdale who last year became the first rower to win three consecutive world championship single scull titles, world lightweight single scull champion Duncan Grant, Brad Butterworth, who skippered Alinghi to victory in the America’s Cup and world mountain running champion Jonathan Wyatt.

In the Westpac ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ category last year’s winner and 2007 world shot put champion Valerie Vili has been joined by world BMX cruiser class champion Sarah Walker, world motocross champion Katherine Prumm and world 1000m in line speed skating champion Nicole Begg.

The SPARC Coach of the Year finalists are Calvin Ferguson, coach of single scull champions Mahe Drysdale and Duncan Grant, Chris Nilsson, coach of the men’s coxless four, Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens and Kirsten Hellier coach of shot put champion Valerie Vili.

Voting for the Westpac Halberg Awards is carried out by an Academy of 29 comprising media representatives, coaches and former athletes who have excelled at the highest level. For 2007 they had 51 nominations to consider. The Voting Academy includes:

Harris Choy, Howard Dobson, David Leggat, John McBeth, Richard Becht, Ron Palenski, Jonathan Millmow, Peter Montgomery, Brendan Telfer, Kevin Tutty (media); Ron Cheatley, Kerry Clark, Andy Dalton, Steve Gurney, Danyon Loader, Lance O’Sullivan, Ramesh Patel, Ian Smith, Mike Stanley, Blyth Tait, Dick Tayler, Greg Turner, Howie Tamati, Anna Rowberry, Mark Sorenson, Matthew Cooper, Debbie Hockley, Chris Cairns, Graeme Crosby.

The Finalists for the 2007 Westpac Halberg Awards are:

Westpac New Zealand ‘Sportsman of the Year’
Mahe Drysdale (rowing), Duncan Grant (rowing) Brad Butterworth (yachting), Jonathan Wyatt (mountain running)
Westpac New Zealand ‘Sportswoman of the Year’
Nicole Begg (in line skating), Katherine Prumm (motocross), Valerie Vili (athletics), Sarah Walker (BMX class cycling)
Westpac New Zealand ‘Sports Team of the Year’
Men’s coxless four (rowing), men’s coxless pair (rowing), Team New Zealand (yachting), women’s double scull (rowing)

The supreme trophy, the Halberg Award, will be chosen from one of the above. The 2006 Halberg Award went to single sculler Mahe Drysdale.

For Further Information Please contact.-
Graeme Taylor or Armin Lindenberg
Chief Executive, Halberg Trust Lindenberg & Partners
Ph: 027 289 4950 Ph: 0274 786 040
Email: Email:


Westpac New Zealand ‘Sportsman of the Year’

Brad Butterworth (Yachting): Skippered Alinghi to a 5-2 win over Team New Zealand in the 2007 America’s Cup final.

Mahe Drysdale (Rowing): Winner of men’s single scull at 2007 World Rowing Championships for the 3rd consecutive time - the first rower to have achieved this feat.

Duncan Grant (Rowing): Winner of lightweight single scull title at 2007 World Rowing Championships. Also won World Cup regattas at Amsterdam and Lucerne.

Jonathan Wyatt (Mountain Running): Winner of 2007 world long distance mountain running championship.

Westpac New Zealand ‘Sportswoman of the Year’

Nicole Begg (In Line Speed Skating): Won gold medal in 1000m sprint at 2007 World In Line Speed Skating Championships.

Katherine Prumm (Motocross): Winner of 2007 FIM World Women’s Motocross Championship, for the second consecutive year.

Valerie Vili (Athletics): Winner of gold medal in women’s shot put at 2007 World Track & Field Championships with an Oceania and NZ record throw. Finished year ranked No.1 in world.

Sarah Walker (BMX Cycling): Winner of Elite Women’s BMX Cruiser Class at 2007 World BMX Cycling Championships.

Westpac New Zealand ‘Sports Team of the Year’

Men’s Coxless Four (Rowing): Won gold medal in final of 2007 World Rowing Championships. Also won World Cup regatta at Amsterdam.

Men’s Coxless Pair (Rowing): Winners of silver medal in coxless pair at 2007 World Rowing Championships. Won World Cup regatta at Amsterdam.

Team New Zealand (Yachting): Winners of Louis Vuitton at 2007 America’s Cup beating Luna Rosa 5-0 in the final. Lost 5-2 to Alinghi in America’s Cup match.

Women’s Double Scull (Rowing)): Finished runners-up in the double scull at 2007 World Rowing Championships, after taking the World Cup regatta at Lucerne.

SPARC New Zealand ‘Coach of the Year’

Calvin Ferguson (Rowing)
Kirsten Hellier (Athletics)
Chris Nilsson (Rowing)
Gordon Tietjens (Rugby)


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