Weightlifting Team Supreme Winner at Otara Sports Awards
Weightlifting Team Scoops Major Award
A national champion weightlifting club has won the supreme award at the inaugural Otara Sports Awards at the Hope Centre in Otara on 2 December.
The Otara Barbell Weightlifting Team who placed first in the Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand (OWNZ) Club Champions League were named the Team of the Year before scooping up the Supreme Award.
The weightlifting team has two international seniors, seven international masters and two international junior representatives and consists of national and international champions, gold medallists and regional record holders.
“I’m extremely proud to receive this award on behalf of our club and weightlifting team who are committed and disciplined team members,” says coach Daniel Nemani.
“We have great talent coming through and experienced competitors who are role models at our club. We’re local people that always go out to give it our best when we compete and that also means having to be great ambassadors for Otara just like Ruben, Eric, Tawera and Temepara.”
The Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board delivered the inaugural Otara Sports Awards with support from the Otara Business Association.
Four New Zealand sporting greats were also honoured for their success and excellence at the highest level of their code and as recognition for their contribution to Otara and sports in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Rugby League heroes Ruben Wiki and Tawera Nikau, NZ Sevens legend Eric Rush and Silver Fern great Temepara Bailey (in absentia) each received a lifetime achievement award before being inducted into Otara’s Hall of Fame.
“It’s a true blessing to receive this award alongside the three other sporting legends. It’s great to be here with my mother who raised three kids in Otara. The values that she instilled in me growing up like giving my time to help others have remained with me throughout my rugby league career,” said Ruben Wiki.
NZ Rugby sevens legend Eric Rush offered similar sentiments, “The Otara Sports Awards has been a long time coming. I’m really happy that Otara finally has its own sports awards because the talent in this place is unbelievable. This is a great honour to receive from the place that I call home,” he said.
Tawera Nikau also attended the awards having cancelled a pre-booked flight to the Rugby League World Cup final as a member of the New Zealand Rugby League governance board and selector for the Kiwis league team.
“The person that I am today is because of my upbringing in Otara. The people that I have interacted with like school friends, neighbours and whanau, some who are still living here, I will always be thankful for them and never forget in my life.”
In other awards, Josephine Murray-Stowers a multi-sport athlete in Tag, Touch Rugby and Netball was named the Sportswoman of the Year while George Crichton of East Tamaki Rugby Club and a member of the Auckland Mitre 10 Cup wider squad was named Sportsman of the Year.
The Junior Sportsman of the Year awards was presented to Tangaroa College student Marco Talagi, an Under 16s NZ Kiwi representative and member of the Cronulla Sharks Junior Development squad. The Junior Sportswoman of the Year was won by the multi-talented Nive Taulanga who represented Auckland in Rugby, Rugby League and was a member of the winning team in the 2017 Counties- Manukau Tag Championship.
The Uniquely Abled Award was taken home by the reigning North Island champion Auckland Wheelbreakers Wheelchair Basketball Team who picked up their third consecutive national championship in a row by beating Canterbury 51-50 in the grand final this year.
Full list of the winners from the Otara Sports Awards:
• Administrator of the Year: Lani Ekepati, American Football Auckland
• Official of the Year: Lakita Morris-Meredith, American Football
• Coach of the Year: Daniel Nemani, Otara Barbell Club
• Junior Sportsteam of the Year: Tangaroa College, Girls 10s Rugby Team
• Junior Sportsman of the Year: Marco Talagi, Rugby League, Scorpions Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Nive Taulanga, Rugby, Rugby League, Tag, Tangaroa College
• Masters Athlete of the Year: Mihi Joy Nemani, Otara Barbell Club
• Uniquely Abled Award: Auckland Wheelbreakers, Wheelchair Basketball Team
• Team of the Year: Otara Barbell Club, Weightlifting Team
• Sportsman of the Year: George Crichton, East Tamaki Rugby
• Sportswoman of the Year: Josephine Murray-Stowers, Touch Rugby, Tag, Netball
• Supreme Award: Otara Barbell Club Weightlifting Team