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Olympians prominent among Halberg finalists

New Zealand’s gold medal-winning rowers and a pair of new Dames are among the finalists for this year’s Halberg Sports Awards.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Halberg Foundation released the finalists on Wednesday for the event being held on 23 February in Auckland.

Canoe racing star Dame Lisa Carrington was yet again up for sportswoman of the year, while decorated swimmer Dame Sophie Pascoe was once more the favourite in the para athlete/team category.

Rowing had five finalists across four major categories, with all five standing atop the podium at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

The men’s eight and the women’s pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast were among the team of the year finalists, Hamish Bond was up for sportsman of the year, Emma Twigg for sportswoman and men’s eight coach Tony O’Connor for the coach award.

Cricket was another sport to feature prominently, on the back of the Black Caps winning the inaugural World Test Championship and reaching the final of the T20 World Cup.

They were up for team of the year alongside the two rowing crews, Black Ferns Sevens and sailing’s Team New Zealand, while Kane Williamson was a sportsman of the year finalist and coach Gary Stead was up for that gong.

A couple of less prominent sports also featured, with motocross world champion Courtenay Duncan (sportswoman) and squash star Paul Coll (sportsman) named as finalists for their outstanding achievements.

The finalists for what would be the 59th Halbergs represented achievements from 1 December 2019 to 30 November 2021, with the two-year period reflecting the impact of Covid-19 on global sporting competitions.

Finalists for the 59th Halberg Awards:

ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Team of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award): Anna Grimaldi (Para athletics), Holly Robinson (Para athletics), Lisa Adams (Para athletics), Dame Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming), Tupou Neiufi (Para swimming).

ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award): Hamish Bond (rowing), Kane Williamson (cricket), Paul Coll (squash), Scott Dixon (motorsport).

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award): Courtney Duncan (motocross), Emma Twigg (rowing), Dame Lisa Carrington (canoe racing), Lydia Ko (golf), Sarah Hirini (rugby sevens).

ISPS Handa Team of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award): Black Caps (cricket), Black Ferns Sevens (rugby sevens), Emirates Team New Zealand (sailing), Rowing Men’s Eight (rowing), Women’s Pair Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast (rowing).

Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year: Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney (rugby sevens), Gary Stead (cricket), Gordon Walker (canoe racing), Tony O’Connor (rowing).

Sky Sport Emerging Talent: Connor Bell (athletics), Cool Wakushima (snowboarding), Erika Fairweather (swimming), Grace Nweke (netball), Marko Stamenic (football).

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