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Strong Competition for New Zealand’s Top Sports Honours

12 December 2013

Strong Competition for New Zealand’s Top Sports Honours

58 nominations received for 51st Westpac Halberg Awards

The outstanding success of New Zealand athletes on the world stage in 2013 has resulted in 58 official nominations for the nation’s pre-eminent event to honour and celebrating sporting excellence - the Westpac Halberg Awards.

The 51st Westpac Halberg Awards will honour the achievements of New Zealand athletes during the 2013 calendar year. The nominations have come from National Sports Organisations and an independent Voting Academy.

The Westpac Team of the Year and Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award categories received the most nominations with 13 apiece. Five yachting teams, four rowing crews, a cycling team, the All Blacks, Black Sox and the New Zealand Breakers have been put forward for the Team category.

Four Blind Bowlers, two Para Sailing crews, a Para Snowboarder, Para Cyclist, and four Para Swimmers - including previous winner Sophie Pascoe - are nominated for the Disabled Sportsperson Award.

The High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year Award will be hotly contested by eight nominees including Lauren Boyle, Lisa Carrington, Lydia Ko and Valerie Adams. While six athletes, including All Black Kieran Read and IndyCar Driver Scott Dixon, have been nominated for the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year category.

Nine nominations have been put forward in the Westpac Emerging Talent and Coach of the Year Award categories.

A Voting Academy of 30 former athletes, coaches and media representatives will now vote to determine the finalists which are announced on January 1st 2014. Outstanding performances by individual athletes or teams are still considered until December 31st 2013.

The annual Westpac Halberg Awards provide an essential fundraising event for the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, the charity set up by Olympian Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ), which aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation.

Halberg Disability Sport Foundation CEO, Geoff Burgess, says the high calibre of nominations reflects a year of outstanding sports performances by New Zealand athletes.

“In 2013 we have seen the All Blacks going unbeaten, Scott Dixon winning his third IndyCar Series title, Mary Fisher winning five golds and a silver at the IPC Swimming World Championships and our yachting teams reaching world champion heights.”

“Lydia Ko has also had a huge year after winning the 2012 Westpac Emerging Talent Award, turning professional and winning her first tournament as a pro, she’s now a strong contender for the Sportswoman category and will give the Voting Academy a lot to consider,” says Burgess.

The winners of the Sportsman, Sportswoman, Disabled Sportsperson and Team of the Year Award categories will again be eligible for the country’s supreme accolade for sporting excellence - the Halberg Award.

The Halberg Award criteria states it will be presented to the individual athlete, athlete in a team, or team whose achievement represented excellence in sport at the highest level. This supreme award was presented to rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray at the 2012 Westpac Halberg Awards.

When assessing the nominees the Voting Academy consider if their achievement was in that sport's 'pinnacle event', whether it was a world record, or world ranking or recognition, the quality of the field or competition and the global nature of the sport.

Award winners will be announced at the 51st Westpac Halberg Awards at Vector Arena, Auckland, on Thursday 13 February, 2014. The event will also be televised live on SKY Sport.

Other award categories that will be presented on the night include; New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment (finalists announced in January) the Sport New Zealand Leadership Award and inductees into the Sports Hall of Fame.

The full list of nominations for the 51st Westpac Halberg Awards:

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year
Aaron Gate (Cycling), Andrew Nicholson (Equestrian), Kieran Read (Rugby), Mitch Evans (Motorsport), Scott Dixon (Motorsport), Simon van Velthooven (Cycling).

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year
Emma Twigg (Rowing), Lauren Boyle (Swimming), Linda Villumsen (Cycling), Lisa Carrington (Canoeing), Lydia Ko (Golf), Melissa Timperley (Taekwon-Do), Suzie Bates (Cricket), Valerie Adams (Athletics).

Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year
Cameron Leslie (Para Swimming), Carl Murphy (Para-Snowboarding), David Monk (Blind Bowling), Emma Foy and Gabrielle Vermunt (pilot) (Para Cycling), James Dunn (Blind Bowling), Mary Fisher (Para Swimming), Mike Johnson (Para Shooting), Mixed Pairs - Sue Curran and James Dunn (Blind Bowling), Nikita Howarth (Para Swimming), Sophie Pascoe (Para Swimming), Sue Curran (Blind Bowling), Team New Zealand Class B2 (Para Sailing), Team New Zealand Class B3 (Para Sailing).

Westpac Team of the Year
All Blacks (Rugby), Black Sox (Softball), Emirates Team New Zealand (Yachting), Men’s Pair – Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (Rowing), Men’s Lightweight Four (Rowing), Men’s Team Sprint (Cycling), NZL Sailing Team with ETNZ (Yachting), NZ Men's 49er Class Team - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Yaching), NZ Women's 49erFX Pair - Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech (Yachting), NZ Women’s 470 Team - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Yachting), The New Zealand Breakers (Basketball),Women’s Pair - Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt (Rowing), Women’s Double Scull - Zoe Stevenson and Fiona Bourke (Rowing).

Westpac Emerging Talent
Ella Williams (Surfing), Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Swimming), Hannah Sarten (BMX), Jake Lewis (Motorcycling), Liam Aitcheson (Track Cycling), Makauley Fox (Baseball), Sam Gaze (Mountain Biking), Tim Robertson (Orienteering), Tom Murray (Rowing).

Coach of the Year
Dave Thompson (Rowing), Dick Tonks (Rowing), Eddie Kohlhase (Softball), Gary Hay (Rowing), Gordon Walker (Canoeing), Guy Wilson (Golf), Nathan Handley (Yachting), Simon Finnel (Cycling), Steve Hansen (Rugby).

The 30-strong Voting Academy comprising media representatives, former athletes and coaches is:
Andy Hay, Hamish Carter, Ron Palenski, Danyon Loader, TeArahi Maipi, Mark Sorensen, Andrew Mulligan, Philippa Baker Hogan, Michelle Pickles, Ron Cheatley, Rikki Swannell, Duane Kale, Mike Stanley, Dana Johannsen, Jayne Kiely, Jonathan Millmow, Farah Palmer, Dave Leggat, Ramesh Patel, Marc Hinton, Mark Richardson, Brendan Telfer, Awen Guttenbiel, Fred Woodcock, Graeme Crosby, Adine Wilson, Michael Jones, Sarah Ulmer, Susie Simcock, Beatrice Faumuina.

About the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation
The Halberg Disability Sport Foundation (formerly the Halberg Trust) changed its name in October 2012 to clearly acknowledge the organisation’s work in facilitating sport and recreation for physically disabled New Zealanders.

About the Westpac Halberg Awards
Named after Olympic champion Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ), the Westpac Halberg Awards is the country's pre-eminent event to honour and celebrate New Zealand sporting excellence. It also provides the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation with a flagship fundraising opportunity for Sir Murray's charity, which aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation. For more information go to www.halbergawards.co.nz or www.halberg.co.nz.

ENDS

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