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New Zealanders Nominate Top Sport Icons

New Zealanders Nominate Top Sport Icons

An Olympic gold medallist, a mountain climbing hero and a gold-winning paraplegic athlete are among the sports stars named as Kiwis’ top sporting icons.

The sports icon category of the Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards were announced last night with New Zealanders selecting Olympic Gold cyclist Sarah Ulmer, eight time WRC NZ rally winner Possum Bourne, America’s Cup victor Sir Peter Blake, Mount Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary and Neroli Fairhall, the paraplegic who won gold against her able bodied competitors at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games.

The Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards are New Zealand’s only sports awards where the public decides the results by choosing the people they feel are most deserving of recognition. Funds raised from voting goes to Paralympics New Zealand.

The public can vote now for the overall top icon and help raise money for Paralympics New Zealand at the same time. Proceeds 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, sports science and 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 are being 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.

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

Freedom Air People’s Choice Sports Awards Key Dates

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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