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Manukau Mayor Congratulates Halberg Champion Valerie Vili

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Manukau Mayor Congratulates Halberg Champion Valerie Vili

Manukau Mayor Len Brown says Olympic shot put gold medallist and Manukau resident Valerie Vili's triumph at the Westpac Halberg Awards in Auckland last night shows young people from Manukau can achieve to their highest potential.

"Valerie is a true champion with the heart of a champion and a drive which has been second to none," Mr Brown says.

"To be named Sportswoman of the Year and to be the first woman to win the ultimate prize of the Halberg Award, is a reflection of her ethic of hard work, and the support she has had around her. It's a wonderful achievement."

Mr Brown says Manukau has always been proud of Valerie Vili's achievements on the athletics field, and that of her long time coach Kirsten Hellier, who won the Coach of the Year.

"They have proven to be a top team and the long association they've had is a testament to this and they deserve the recognition they've received," Mr Brown says.

"I can still remember when young Valerie was starting to make her mark in athletics as a teenager from Mangere, and she has gone on to become a world and Olympic champion. She is a fantastic role model for the young people of Manukau city."

Mr Brown is confident many more sporting champions will come out of Manukau, following in Valerie's footsteps and that of Inidianapolis 500 champion Scott Dixon.

"Scott grew up in Manurewa and his victory in one of the world's biggest sporting events is outstanding. To have both Scott and Valerie vying for the Halberg Award - the ultimate sporting prize in the country - is fantastic," he says.

"Encouraging young people into sport and physical activity is one of the reasons we launched the John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams project.

"It's important we provide the best possible opportunities for our young people to achieve their potential, and we hope the Find Your Field of Dreams project will provide the starting point for future world champions like Valerie. "

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