Olympic winners feature in Halberg Awards
Olympic medal-winning paddlers, athletes, sailors and rowers are peppered throughout the recently announced Halberg Award finalists.
11 January 2017
Rio Olympics medallists feature prominently in the Halberg Awards finalists announced on Wednesday.
Top-ranked golfer Lydia Ko, who last year won the sportswoman of the year award, faces strong competition this year to retain her title despite winning two majors and an Olympic silver in 2016.
Leading the charge is Rio canoe sprint gold medallist Lisa Carrington, with Olympic silver medallists Luuka Jones (canoe slalom) and Valerie Adams (shot put) also in contention.
The sportsman of the year category is headed by sculler Mahe Drysdale, who won his second Olympic gold in Rio by millimetres.
Boxer Joseph Parker, who won the WBO world heavyweight title in Auckland last month, and Rio bronze medallists Tom Walsh (shot put) and Nick Willis (1500m) round out the finalists.
Para-swimmer Sophie Pascoe, who won three golds and two silvers at the Rio Paralympics, is making a strong bid to retain the disabled sportsperson award she won last year.
She is up against 100m backstroke gold medallist Mary Fisher, long jumper Anna Grimaldi, and para-athlete Liam Malone, who won double gold and a silver in Rio.
Two champion Olympic crews are in the running for team of the year: 49er duo Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, and rowing pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.
Cycling's Olympic silver medal-winning team of Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster are also in contention, alongside the women's 470 crew Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie.
Finalists for the coach of the year award are All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, Carrington's coach Gordon Walker, 49er coach Hamish Willcox, and Jeremy McColl, who guided Eliza McCartney to bronze at her first Olympics in Rio.
The 16 finalists from the disabled sportsperson, team of the year, sportsman and sportswoman of the year are all in line for the supreme Halberg Award.
An emerging talent award has a four-strong short list: track cyclist Campbell Stewart, Rio Olympics trampolinist Dylan Schmidt, BMX rider Maynard Peel, and freeskiier Finn Bilous.
Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Auckland on February 9.
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