Black Caps, Olympians and Team NZ among Halberg finalists

Source: 1News

The finalists for this year's Halberg Awards have been revealed with multiple categories featuring a number of strong contenders.

The Halberg supreme trophy.

The Halberg Foundation announced 28 finalists on Wednesday afternoon from the 79 nominations received last month based on sporting achievements from both 2020 and 2021.

With last year's awards cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 event will recognise sporting excellence from the last two years, dated from December 1 2019 to November 30 2021.

“The finalists showcase a remarkable group who have achieved outstanding success and shown great resilience through unprecedented times for global sport,” Halberg Foundation CEO Shelley McMeeken said.

“We look forward to celebrating all their achievements and crowning the winners at the awards ceremony.”

Four finalists have been named for the Sportsman of the Year with both leadership and results recognised in the selections.

Paul Coll poses after winning the Black Ball Open.

Rower Hamish Bond is a finalist after being part of the gold medal winning men’s eight in Tokyo, while Black Caps captain Kane Williamson is also named after leading his team to to the 2021 ICC World Test Championship title.

Driver Scott Dixon and squash player Paul Coll are the other two finalists after winning the 2020 IndyCar championship and 2021 British Open, respectively.

In the Sportswoman of the Year category, five athletes have been named for their success of the past two years.

Lisa Carrington won three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Leading the nominations is kayaker Dame Lisa Carrington following her three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics. Fellow gold medallists Emma Twigg [rowing] and Sarah Hirini [rugby sevens] are also finalists and are joined by Courtney Duncan [motocross] and Lydia Ko [golf].

Duncan is a finalist after winning back-to-back Motocross World Championships in 2020 and 2021, with her latest title completing a three-peat while Ko is in the mix after winning the Lotte Championship in 2021 along with a Tokyo bronze.

The Team of the Year category features five teams including two Olympic gold winning rowing teams; the women’s pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast and the men’s eight.

Fellow gold medallists, the Black Ferns Sevens, are also finalists.

Emirates Team New Zealand have been named after retaining the America's Cup last March while the Black Caps have also been named following their World Test Championship win and their appearance in the T20 World Cup final.

The Black Caps celebrate after winning the World Test Championship.

Five Tokyo Paralympics gold medallists have been shortlisted for the Para Athlete/Team of the Year award with para athletics trio Anna Grimaldi, Holly Robinson and Lisa Adams all featuring.

Dame Sophie Pascoe, who claimed two gold, a silver and bronze in Tokyo, is a finalist along with fellow Para swimming gold medallist Tupou Neiufi.

Sophie Pascoe celebrates with the gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Freestyle - S9 Final.

The four categories - Para Athlete/Team, Sportswoman, Sportsman and Team - are the only ones eligible for the supreme Halberg Award.

The other two categories for the evening will be the Coach of the Year and Emerging Talent awards.

Four finalists have been named for coach of the year with Gordon Walker, who led the Women’s Canoe Sprint team to three golds in Tokyo, shortlisted along with Black Ferns Sevens co-coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney and the men’s rowing eight coach, Tony O’Connor.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead rounds out the list.

In the final section, five promising athletes have been named in the Emerging Talent category.

Grace Nweke.

OlyWhites midfielder Marko Stamenic and swimmer Erika Fairweather have been included after making their Olympic debuts in Tokyo while snowboarder Cool Wakushima has also made the cut after placing eighth at the FIS World Snowboard Championships.

Under-20 World No 1 ranked discus thrower Connor Bell and Silver Ferns rookie Grace Nweke have also been named.

New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment [a public vote category] and Sport New Zealand Leadership awards will also be presented on the night.

The 59th Halberg Awards ceremony will be held at Spark Arena, Auckland on Wednesday 23 February 2022.

Finalists for the 59th Halberg Awards

Para Athlete/Team of the Year

Anna Grimaldi (Para athletics), Holly Robinson (Para athletics), Lisa Adams (Para athletics), Dame Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming), Tupou Neiufi (Para swimming).

Sportsman of the Year

Hamish Bond (rowing), Kane Williamson (cricket), Paul Coll (squash), Scott Dixon (motorsport).

Sportswoman of the Year

Courtney Duncan (motocross), Emma Twigg (rowing), Dame Lisa Carrington (canoe racing), Lydia Ko (golf), Sarah Hirini (rugby sevens).

Team of the Year

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).

Coach of the Year

Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney (rugby sevens), Gary Stead (cricket), Gordon Walker (canoe racing), Tony O'Connor (rowing).

Emerging Talent

Connor Bell (athletics), Cool Wakushima (snowboarding), Erika Fairweather (swimming), Grace Nweke (netball), Marko Stamenic (football).