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Finalists announced for 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Halberg Foundation has today announced 28 finalists for the 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards.

The Awards judges - comprising former elite athletes and coaches, sports administrators and current sports media - selected the finalists from 79 nominations received from National Sports Organisations and an independent Nominations Board for achievements in 2020 and 2021.

The winners will be announced at the 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards ceremony at Spark Arena, Auckland on Wednesday 23 February 2022 and broadcast live on Sky Sport and free to air on Prime TV from 8pm.

Finalists in the Para Athlete/Team, Sportswoman, Sportsman and Team categories are all eligible for the supreme Halberg Award, the country’s highest accolade for sporting excellence.

Five Tokyo Paralympics gold medallists have been shortlisted for the ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Team of the Year award comprising long jumper Anna Grimaldi, javelin thrower Holly Robinson and shot putter Lisa Adams. Dame Sophie Pascoe, who claimed two gold, a silver and bronze, is a finalist along with fellow Para swimming gold medallist Tupou Neiufi.

Four finalists are in line for the ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year including rower Hamish Bond, who was in the gold medal winning Rowing Men’s Eight; Scott Dixon, who claimed his sixth Indycar Championship in 2020; Black Caps captain Kane Williamson who led his team to success at the 2021 ICC World Test Championship and squash player Paul Coll, who won the British Open title.

Five finalists have been shortlisted for the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year including Sarah Hirini, who captained the Black Ferns Sevens to Olympic gold; kayaker Dame Lisa Carrington, who claimed three gold medals, and rower Emma Twigg, who won gold in the single scull. Also included is Courtney Duncan, who won back-to-back Motocross World Championships in 2020 and 2021, and golfer Lydia Ko who won the Lotte Championship and an Olympic bronze medal.

The ISPS Handa Team of the Year 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. The America’s Cup champion Emirates Team New Zealand, the world number one Test and ODI ranked Black Caps cricket team and the gold medal Black Ferns Sevens are all finalists.

The Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year has four finalists comprising Gordon Walker, who led the Women’s Canoe Sprint team to three golds in Tokyo along with the 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 for guiding the team to ICC World Test Championship victory.

Five young promising athletes are finalists for the Sky Sport Emerging Talent Award including two athletes who made their Olympics debuts in Toyko; OlyWhites midfielder Marko Stamenic and swimmer Erika Fairweather. The shortlist includes snowboarder Cool Wakushima who placed eighth at the FIS World Snowboard Championships; Under-20 World No 1 ranked discus thrower Connor Bell and Northern Mystic netballer Grace Nweke who was the leading goal scorer in the ANZ Premiership and assisted them to claim the 2021 championship title.

The finalists represent achievements from 1 December 2019 to 30 November 2021 - a two-year period reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on global sporting competitions.

The New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment (public vote category) and Sport New Zealand Leadership awards will also be presented on the night. Tickets are still available by contacting awards@halberg.co.nz.

"The finalists showcase a remarkable group who have achieved outstanding success and shown great resilience through unprecedented times for global sport," says Halberg Foundation Chief Executive, Shelley McMeeken. "We look forward to celebrating all their achievements and crowning the winners at the awards ceremony on 23 February."

Full list of finalists for the 59th ISPS Handa 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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