Wellington Sportsperson of the Year Awards
Winners announced for the 2018 Wellington Hospitality Group Sportsperson of the Year Awards
In a spectacular Awards ceremony at TSB Arena, Emirates Team New Zealand cyclor and long-time member of Worser Bay Boating Club, Josh Junior, was named winner of the 2018 Wellington Hospitality Group ‘Supreme Sports Award’.
Junior, who sailed in almost every race in both the Challenger Series and the America’s Cup finals, also took home the Tohu Wine ’Sportsman of the Year’ Award from a strong field of finalists including Beauden Barrett, Joel Evans, Lewis Clareburt and Stephen Jenness.
Highlighting both individual and collective excellence over the past 12 months, the awards evening also celebrated the diverse sporting talent within the greater Wellington region. A total of 25 sports were represented on the night, with finalists from 11 different sports winning awards.
Organised by Sport Wellington and now in its 39th year, the awards are overseen by a panel of judges, experts in their sporting and sports media fields, who deliberated over 200 nominations to arrive at the winners.
Kelsey Smith, a member of the Capital NHL and Black Sticks women’s hockey team, was named Wellington Sports Med ‘Sportswoman of the Year’. Smith was selected in every Black Sticks event over the past 12 months and helped the Black Sticks to win a history-making gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Administrators and clubs were also recognised at the awards evening. Capital Football, Operations Manager, Lisa Jones was named winner of the Trish McKelvey Leadership award for her service and contribution to football over the last year.
While Tawa Squash Club were recipients of the Speedy Signs Wellington Central ‘Club of the Year’ Award as a result of their successful community programmes and initiatives aimed at getting more young people playing squash.
New Zealand Para cycling champion Kate Horan was named the Cigna ‘Disabled Sportsperson of the Year’ after an impressive year on the track, winning a silver medal at the 2018 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships in the women’s C4 500m time trial.
Colin Ward was the recipient of the Wellington Community Trust ‘Lifetime Contribution to Sport’ Award for his long-standing contribution to softball as a player, coach, volunteer and administrator.
Ward has achieved 40 consecutive years of attendance at Softball NZ’s National Tournament as a player, coach or administrator. Having contributed immensely to the continuous development of the game in Wellington, Ward has also helped to establish many community leagues.
Sport Wellington Chief Executive, Phil Gibbons said the judges once again faced major challenges due to the large number of high-quality nominations submitted this year. “The Awards recognises and celebrates the wonderful accomplishments and success of our region. Our record attendance of 840 people celebrating the successes of our region’s athletes, teams, coaches, officials and all of those who work tirelessly, often as volunteers, behind the scenes, really shows how outstanding the sporting year has been.”
Another highlight of the evening was the celebration of the 2018 inductees into the Gibson Sheat Lawyers ‘Sports Legends of Wellington’. Mountain running champion Melissa Moon, Softball great Kevin Herlihy (posthumously), former Black Stick Suzie Muirhead and squash champion Stuart Davenport were all inducted as Legends.
The Legends unveiled their plaques at a ceremony held at the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie on Wednesday afternoon. Their plaques join the other ‘Sports Legends of Wellington’ which are permanently displayed on the mezzanine floor at the ASB Sports Centre.