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50th Westpac Halberg Awards Finalists Announced

MEDIA RELEASE
Monday 31st December, 2012

50th Westpac Halberg Awards Finalists Announced

Outstanding performances by New Zealand sports teams and individuals during 2012 have been reflected in the finalists selected for the 50th Westpac Halberg Awards.

Achievements at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have seen the sports of Rowing, Sailing, Canoeing, Cycling and Para-Swimming dominate the finalist categories, with Rugby and Golf also featuring as strong contenders for the major Awards.

Rowing’s Single Sculls champion Mahe Drysdale is among the High Performance Sport New Zealand 'Sportsman of the Year' finalists, with Gold medallists Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (NZ Men’s Pair), and Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen (NZ Men’s Double Scull) among the Westpac ‘Team of the Year’ finalists.

Coaches Calvin Ferguson and Richard Tonks - who led New Zealand’s Rowing teams to their Olympic success - are both finalists in the Sky Sport ‘Coach of the Year’ category.

Sailing’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, who won Silver in the Men’s 49er Class in London, will contend for ‘Team of the Year’ alongside fellow sailors, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, who took Gold in the Women’s 470. The Olympic sailing teams’ coach, Nathan Handley, joins Tonks and Ferguson among the SKY Sport ‘Coach of the Year’ finalists.

After a successful year which saw them win the Steinlager Series, Investec Rugby Championship, and retain the Bledisloe and Freedom Cups, 2011 Halberg Award winners the All Blacks join the two sailing and two rowing teams as Westpac ‘Team of the Year’ finalists.

Gordon Walker, who coached canoeing champion Lisa Carrington to Gold in the women’s K1 200, rounds out the Coach of the Year finalists list.

Lisa Carrington herself joins shot put champion Valerie Adams, who defended a Gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games; Sarah Walker, Olympic silver medallist in the Women’s BMX; and amateur Golf sensation Lydia Ko, winner of the CN Canadian Women’s Open on the LPGA Tour, as finalists for the High Performance Sport New Zealand ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ Award.

Joining Drysdale among the High Performance Sport New Zealand 'Sportsman of the Year' finalists is Andrew Nicholson, who finished 2012 as the number one world ranked Eventing

rider; cycling’s Simon van Velthooven, who won Olympic Bronze in the Keirin; and Rugby’s Richie McCaw, who captained the All Blacks through their successful 2012 season.

Para-swimming champion, Sophie Pascoe, who took three Gold and three Silver medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, joins fellow para-swimming Gold medallists Mary Fisher and Cameron Leslie as finalists in the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation ‘Disabled Sportsperson of the Year’ category. Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winning para-cyclist, Phillipa Grey completes the finalist list.

The Disabled Sportsperson of the Year category was introduced in 2011 to recognise the achievements of New Zealand’s classified disabled athletes competing on the world stage. The winner of the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award joins winners of the Sportswoman, Sportsman and Team categories as one of four finalists eligible for the country’s most prized sporting accolade - the ‘Halberg Award’.

The Westpac ‘Emerging Talent' award is designed to identify and assist a young athlete in their quest to become an Olympic and/or World Champion, and hopefully one day win the Halberg Award. The winner of this category also receives a $10,000 Westpac sporting scholarship.

Westpac Emerging Talent finalists for 2012 are golfer Lydia Ko, Cross Country Mountain Biker, Anton Cooper, up and coming Track Cyclist, Dylan Kennet and promising Laser Radial sailor, Andrew McKenzie.

Once again this year the public has the chance to vote for 'New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment'. Finalists for this category will be announced when public voting opens on January 14th 2012.

Voting for the Westpac Halberg Awards is carried out by a 30-strong Voting Academy comprising media representatives, and former athletes and coaches who have excelled at the highest level.

Award winners will be announced at the 50th Westpac Halberg Awards at Vector Arena, Auckland, on Thursday, February 14, 2013. The event will also be televised live on SKY Sport.

ENDS

Category Finalists for the 50th Westpac Halberg Awards are:

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year:
Lisa Carrington (Canoeing)
Valerie Adams (Athletics)

Lydia Ko (Golf)
Sarah Walker (BMX)

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year:
Mahe Drysdale (Rowing)
Andrew Nicholson (Equestrian)
Simon van Velthooven (Cycling)
Richie McCaw (Rugby)

Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award:
Cameron Leslie (Para Swimming)
Mary Fisher (Para Swimming)
Phillipa Gray (Para Cycling)
Sophie Pascoe (Para Swimming)

Westpac Team of the Year:
NZ Men’s Double Scull - Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen (Rowing)
NZ Men's Pair - Eric Murray & Hamish Bond (Rowing)
NZ Women’s 470 Team - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Sailing)
NZ Men’s 49er Class Team - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Sailing)
All Blacks (Rugby)

Westpac Emerging Talent:
Andrew McKenzie (Sailing)
Lydia Ko (Golf)
Dylan Kennett (Track Cycling)
Anton Cooper (Mountain Biking)

SKY Sport Coach of the Year:
Gordon Walker (Canoeing)
Richard Tonks (Rowing)
Calvin Ferguson (Rowing)
Nathan Handley (Sailing)

The 30-strong Voting Academy comprising media representatives, former athletes and coaches is:

Philippa Baker-Hogan, Richard Becht, Richard Boock, Hamish Carter, Ron Cheatley, Graeme Crosby, Greg Ford, Andy Hay, Rachael Henderson, Debbie Hockley, Michael Jones, Jayne Kiely, Dave Leggat, Danyon Loader, Te Arahi Maipi, Jonathan Millmow, Peter Montgomery, Ron Palenski, Farah Palmer, Ramesh Patel, Michelle Pickles, Mark Richardson, Susie Simcock, Mark Sorensen, Mike Stanley, Rikki Swannell, Howie Tamati, Brendan Telfer, Sarah Ulmer and Adine Wilson.

About the Westpac Halberg Awards:

Named after Olympic Champion Sir Murray Halberg, the Westpac Halberg Awards is the country's pre-eminent event to honour and celebrate New Zealand sporting excellence. The event also provides the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation (formally Halberg Trust) with a high profile opportunity to fundraise for its year-round work of enhancing the lives of physically disabled young people, their families and communities, by enabling them to participate in sport. Award winners will be announced at the 50th Westpac Halberg Awards at Vector Arena, Auckland, on Thursday, February 14, 2013. The event will also be televised live on SKY Sport.

ENDS

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