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New Zealanders Nominate Favourite Sports Teams

New Zealanders Nominate Favourite Sports Teams

New Zealanders love their sports teams – especially when they’re winning! And as the events of the last weekend showed, our teams’ ability to win on both the world and local stage has never been stronger.

It’s not surprising then that the five nominees in the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards include some of New Zealand’s most successful teams in 2006 - the All Blacks, the Evers Swindell sisters, the Canterbury Crusaders, the Silver Ferns and the NZ Mens’Pairs Rowing team have been chosen as Kiwis’ five favourite sports teams.

Public nominations for the awards closed on October 24 and the first finalists, in the team category, were announced last night. The Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards are New Zealand’s only sports awards where the public decides the results by choosing the sports stars they feel are most deserving of recognition.

Following the announcement speculation is rife as to who will take the ultimate accolade. A panel of sporting experts including SKY Sport’s Stephen McIvor, Radio Sport’s Doug Golightly and Waikato Times Editor Bryce Johns agreed that the public choices favoured teams who consistently performed well on the international stage.

The panel felt that the Evers Swindell sisters were shaping up to be true icons of New Zealand sport, following their Olympic gold medal with a world title. “The All Blacks show true professionalism at all times and mean so much to Kiwis no matter the line-up of players. The Crusaders and Silver Ferns are both consistent performers with fervent fan bases while the Men’s Rowing Pair of Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater showed true grit bouncing back from Olympic disappointment to win a world title,” the panel commented

The public can now vote for the overall top team and help raise money for Paralympics New Zealand at the same time. The fundraising effort will help Paralympics New Zealand in its quest for medals at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008. Last year the awards raised more than $125,000.

Money raised from this year’s awards will go towards Paralympics New Zealand’s high performance programme, a multi-million dollar initiative including training, coaching, equipment and sports medicine support costs. A key component of the programme is sending athletes to international competitions such as International Paralympic Committee World Championships and FESPIC Games to ensure they can compete at the highest level.

There are six categories in this year’s awards with New Zealanders being able to choose their favourite sports team, coach, sporting icon, sports woman, sports man and international sports person.

The five finalists in each category will be announced each week on SKY Sport One and Sport Radio from October 31 to December 5. As soon as the finalists for each category are announced New Zealanders can vote for their favourite. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner on December 9.

There are three ways to vote – via SKY Television Interactive, phone 0900 33334 or text 3334. Remote and SMS voting cost 99 cents including GST and 0900 voting costs 99 cents per minute. Proceeds from the awards will go to Paralympics New Zealand to help them in their quest for the Beijing Paralympics 2008.

New Zealanders with Vodafone 3G handsets can review the finalist profiles on their handset before they vote for their favourite.

Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards Key Dates
7 November Coach finalists announced (8.30pm)
14 November Sporting Icon finalists announced (8.30pm)
21 November Sportswoman finalists announced (8.30pm)
28 November Sportsman finalists announced (8.30pm)
5 December International finalists announced (8.30pm)
8 December Voting for six main categories close (midnight)
9 December Gala Dinner & winners announced


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