Lisa Carrington has claimed New Zealand’s highest sports honours for 2016 at the 54th Halberg Awards ceremony at Vector Arena in Auckland tonight.
The canoeist, who won two medals at the Rio Olympics, was named the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year before being presented the supreme Halberg Award by Rob Waddell and the Prime Minister Bill English.
Hosted by the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation the Halberg Awards is the nation’s pre-eminent event to honour and celebrate sporting excellence by New Zealand teams and athletes in 2016.
Lisa Carrington was named the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year ahead of golfer Lydia Ko and Rio silver medallists Luuka Jones and Dame Valerie Adams.
Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale won the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year ahead of shot putter Tom Walsh, runner Nick Willis and boxer Joseph Parker.
Liam Malone was named the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year award. The Para-Athletics star, who won two gold and a silver medal at the Rio Paralympics, claimed the hotly contested category ahead of fellow Sophie Pascoe, Anna Grimaldi and Mary Fisher.
Olympic sailing champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke were named the Team of the Year award winners ahead of the Rowing Pair (Hamish Bond and Eric Murray), the Team Sprint (Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster) and the 470 crew (Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie).
Gordon Walker - Lisa Carrington’s coach - was also recognised with the Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year Award. Walker edged out finalists; Steve Hansen (All Blacks), Hamish Willcox (Men’s 49er) and Jeremy McColl (Eliza McCartney) for the coaching honours.
Track Cyclist Campbell Stewart, who claimed two Junior World Championship titles in 2016, won the SKY NEXT Emerging Talent Award and a $10,000 sporting scholarship. Stewart was presented his trophy by previous Emerging Talent winners – Eliza McCartney and Sam Webster.
Eliza McCartney winning a bronze medal with her final pole vault attempt at the Rio Olympics was named New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment of 2016 – the only award voted on by the public.
During the ceremony Paralympic Swimmer Sophie Pascoe was presented the Sport New Zealand Leadership Award.
Ruben Wiki (Rugby League) and Don Jowett (Athletics) were inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and Myra Larcombe was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to swimming.
The annual Halberg Awards is the major fundraiser for the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, the charity set up by Olympic champion Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ) to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders.
The core work of the Foundation is a team of Advisers based around the country who connect physically disabled young people to sport and recreation opportunities. They also deliver training on adapting sports and work with clubs, schools and organisations to provide inclusive events, coaching and programmes. The Foundation also hosts the Halberg Junior Disability Games - a national three day sports competition for physically disabled young people.
“It’s fantastic to be able to bring all the codes together to honour the nation’s sporting success tonight. All the winners and finalists deserve to be recognised for the hard work they put into making us all proud of their achievements in 2016,” says Shelley McMeeken, Chief Executive of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation.
Full list of winners and finalists for the 54th Halberg Awards:
Supreme Halberg Award winner: Lisa Carrington (Canoeing)
Finalists: Mahe Drysdale (Rowing), Liam Malone (Para-Athletics), Men’s 49er – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Yachting).
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year winner: Lisa Carrington (Canoeing)
Finalists: Luuka Jones (Canoe Slalom), Lydia Ko (Golf), Dame Valerie Adams (Athletics).
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year winner: Mahe Drysdale (Rowing)
Finalists: Joseph Parker (Boxing), Nick Willis (Athletics) Tom Walsh (Athletics).
Disabled Sportsperson of the Year winner: Liam Malone (Para-Athletics)
Finalists: Anna Grimaldi (Para-Athletics), Mary Fisher (Para-Swimming), Sophie Pascoe (Para-Swimming).
Team of the Year winner: Men’s 49er – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Yachting)
Finalists: Men’s Pair – Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (Rowing), Team Sprint – Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster (Cycling), Women’s 470 - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Yachting).
Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year winner: Gordon Walker (Canoeing)
Finalists: Hamish Willcox (Yachting), Jeremy McColl (Athletics), Steve Hansen (Rugby).
SKY NEXT Emerging Talent winner: Campbell Stewart (Cycling)
Finalists: Dylan Schmidt (Trampoline), Finn Bilous (Snow Sports), Maynard Peel (Cycling BMX).
New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment winner: Eliza McCartney (Athletics)
Finalists: Brendon McCullum (Cricket), Luuka Jones (Canoe Slalom), Mahe Drysdale (Rowing). Lisa Carrington (Canoeing), Nikki Hamblin (Athletics), Liam Malone (Para-Athletics), All Blacks (Rugby), Shane van Gisbergen (Rugby), Joseph Parker (Boxing).
Sport New Zealand Leadership Award winner: Sophie Pascoe (Para-Swimming)
Lifetime Achievement Award winner: Myra Larcombe (Swimming)
Hall of Fame inductees: Ruben Wiki (Rugby League), Don Jowett (Athletics)