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Lifetime achievements honoured at Sport Awards

Media Release

Embargoed until 10pm, Monday18 April 2011.

Lifetime achievements honoured at 2011 NZ Sport and Recreation Awards

Three long-serving sports administrators have been recognised with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 2011 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards held in Auckland tonight.

Monica Leggat, Ramesh Patel and Christopher Doig have all received awards in recognition of their many years of service for sport – Monica Leggat with netball, Ramesh Patel with hockey and Christopher Doig for various sport leadership roles including cricket.

SPARC Chairman Paul Collins said the awards recognised many years of self-sacrifice and dedication.

“Monica Leggat, Ramesh Patel and Chris Doig have all made extremely significant contributions to the sports they have worked with over the years,” he said.

“For Monica and Ramesh, that involvement has spanned more than 30 years and has been from the grassroots level right through to high performance.

“While Chris has also had a life-long love of sport, it was a mid-career change from the arts to sports administration which saw him make a big impact on cricket in particular.

“All three are owed a debt of gratitude by the sector, and by the many, many people who have benefitted from their vision, their talents and their investment of time.”

Monica Leggat

Monica Leggat is described by fellow netball officials as a dedicated, charismatic and forward-thinking leader, who has been involved at virtually every level of netball administration in New Zealand.

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Raelene Castle, Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand, says Monica Leggat has given decades of time to the sport.

“For more than 60 years, Monica has shown round-the-clock commitment to fulfilling a myriad of different roles for netball in New Zealand whether it be regional president, national president or team manager.

“Her enthusiasm, devotion and passion for netball and people has been steadfast whether at the top echelon of the sport or at grassroots level. She’s still helping out with primary-school netball in Hamilton today and all her voluntary work has been done while being a schoolteacher, a wife, mother of three, and a grandmother,” Castle says.

Monica Leggat managed Waikato representative teams through the 1970s and 1980s, then spent two years as manager of the New Zealand under-21s, before being selected to take on the same role with the Silver Ferns. Here, she formed a unique partnership with Coach Lois Muir, which included winning the world title in 1987 in Glasgow. Monica Leggat also managed the Silver Ferns with Coach Lyn Parker when they won the 1988 World Games in Germany.

In the past, Monica Leggat has been recognised with a Netball New Zealand Service Award, she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1999, and she has received a ‘Services to Sport Award’ at the Halberg Sports Awards. She’s also received a Hamilton City Council Civic Award, which recognises unsung heroes for their community contribution, and is a life member of both Netball Waikato and Netball New Zealand.

Ramesh Patel

Ramesh Patel is described by those in the hockey community as a truly influential player, coach and leader, as well as a humble and loyal human being.

He was a member of New Zealand’s gold-medal winning hockey team from the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, and went on to be Chief Executive of Hockey New Zealand for 22 years. He later moved to the role of Hockey Director and retired from the national sports body at the end of 2010.

During his time with Hockey New Zealand there was a significant rise in participation figures, 18 regional coach development officer positions were rolled out and retained, and New Zealand hosted several International Hockey Federation (FIH) events.

Hockey New Zealand Board member, and New Zealand rep on the Executive Board for the International Hockey Federation, Pam Elgar, says Ramesh Patel is held in extremely high regard by the international hockey community. She says the quality of the relationships he has developed has helped New Zealand enormously.

Despite retiring from New Zealand Hockey, Ramesh Patel continues his involvement as a Patron of the Hockey Foundation and through a voluntary position on the FIH Rules Committee. He has also taken a role as Hockey Director for Auckland’s Saint Kentigerns School.

Christopher Doig

Chris Doig was a professional singer for more than 25 years, during which time he was awarded an OBE for his services to the arts.

His singing career took off after winning the 1972 Mobil Song Quest, which led to a position as a principal tenor at the Vienna State Opera. He spent the next 10 years singing in the major opera houses in Europe, and went on to be the Director of the New Zealand Arts Festival in 1990 and 1992.

In 1995 he retired as a singer to become the Chief Executive of New Zealand Cricket, which he transformed into a dynamic sporting organisation. He held that position until March 2001.

Well-known sport administrator, Barry Maister, describes Chris Doig as a man who makes things happen.

“He’s a great New Zealander and I do not say that lightly. He has an incredible enthusiasm for sport.

“His abilities have made him the man everyone wants on their boards. He’s an entrepreneur with great connections and has shown that through his powerful fundraising efforts with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Arts Council amongst others,” Maister says.

Chris Doig has also served on the boards of SPARC, Rowing New Zealand, Winter Games New Zealand and Vbase, and is currently on the New Zealand Rugby Union board. He also runs his own business as a consultant specialising in the sports, arts and entertainment sector, and he has a number of directorships.


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