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HPSNZ congratulates winners of Westpac Halberg Awards

HPSNZ congratulates winners of Westpac Halberg Awards

High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) Chief Executive Alex Baumann has paid tribute to all the finalists at the 51st Westpac Halberg Awards, saying the competition for the titles will only get tougher as New Zealand’s high performance system continues to strengthen.

“All the finalists produced exceptional performances in 2013 and I didn’t envy the judges having to make their decisions. I congratulate Lydia Ko and Scott Dixon, the winners of the Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year categories, which HPSNZ is proud to sponsor, for standing out in such a strong group,” he says.

“The New Zealand high performance system is going from strength to strength and we’re seeing more and more Kiwis excelling on the world stage.

“There have been exceptional performances by Kiwi athletes over the past year. Overall you would have to say that 2013 was a superb year for high performance sport.

“We had nine world champions in Olympic disciplines which put New Zealand among the top 10 nations on the gold medal count.

“On top of that we also won 12 gold medals at Paralympic world championships, and we had many other Kiwis standing on the podium and winning titles at major events around the world.

“We’re all about winning on the world stage and we can certainly say New Zealand has done that in 2013,” Baumann says.

At the 51st Westpac Halberg Awards tonight, Lydia Ko won the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year Award. She announced she was turning professional in late 2013 and then went on to win her first professional title in just her second start. The then 16 year-old won the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters Tournament in Taiwan after staging a superb back nine comeback. Ko also defended her Canadian Open title in 2013, one year after becoming the youngest ever player to win an LPGA event.

It is the second time that Scott Dixon has won the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year Award, having also received the accolade in 2008. In 2013 he won the prestigious IndyCar series title, storming back from being seemingly out of contention for the championship mid-season. It was Dixon’s third series title having also won in 2003 and 2008, putting him alongside the greats of IndyCar racing.

Ends

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