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Kerikeri martial artist wins highest sporting accolade


Kerikeri martial artist wins highest sporting accolade

The University of Auckland has named taekwon-do and kickboxing champion Riley Phillips-Harris as its Sportsman of the Year 2016.

He joins the likes of pole vaulter Eliza McCartney and Black Stick George Muir as the recipient of a prestigious University of Auckland Blues Award.

He received the accolade at the 2016 Blues Awards Ceremony on September 22, which is held annually to recognise students who achieve in Sports, the Arts and Service and Leadership.

Riley, from Kerikeri, competes in both kickboxing and taekwon-do. He is completing a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts.

His sporting achievements in the past 18 months include gold at the Taekwon-do International Federation World Cup, the International Sports Kickboxing Association World Cup and the International Sports Kickboxing Association US Open.

Earlier this year he beat Jamaican Kenneth Edwards, an Olympian and world champion karateka.

Up-and-coming karate star Tia Tuiburelevu received the award for Sportswoman of the Year. The Māori Sportsperson of the year was world record breaking hurdler Joshua Hawkins (Ngāti Tamatera).

The Blues Awards are part of a tradition from England, where the blue colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities came to symbolise sporting excellence. While a Blues Award has traditionally been a sporting accolade, the University of Auckland also recognises Arts and Service and Leadership.

In total 152 awards will be bestowed at the event, hosted by Mike McRoberts from TV3. Students will be recognised for a wide range of pursuits from Kapa Haka and poetry, to the card game bridge and the sport of polocrosse.

About the Blues Awards

A University Blue is the highest accolade to be earned at a Tertiary level, traditionally awarded for excellence in a sporting code. The award originated from the rivalry of the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge universities in England, where the navy blue Oxford and light blue Cambridge flags displayed by the crews became a symbol of the competition between the two prestigious universities. The University of Auckland has extended the Blues Awards beyond sports to include exceptional achievement in the Arts and in Service and Leadership categories.

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