Back-to-back hon­ours for Leesa

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The 2010 Porirua Sports Awards saw its ma­jor prize re­tained by dis­cus thrower Leesa Lealaisalanoa.

The 17-year-old mem­ber of Ti­tahi Bay Am­a­teur Ath­let­ics Club is one of the coun­try’s most promis­ing field ath­letes, but by her own ad­mis­sion has had a dif­fi­cult year.

Her grand­fa­ther and coach passed away within three months of one an­other and she did not at­tend the re­cent Ju­nior Olympics.

But Lealaisalanoa’s No 1 rank­ing in New Zealand and ex­cel­lent show­ing at the world ju­nior ath­let­ics champs this year was enough for judges to give her the nod again.

Win­ning the young sportsper­son sec­tion, she beat the other cat­e­gory win­ners, Sian Law (in­di­vid­ual sportsper­son, wrestling), Frank Rees (coach, North­ern United pre­miers, rugby), Bernie Wood (ser­vice to sport, rugby league) and Porirua Vik­ings (team, rugby league) to once again take home the Michael Camp­bell Tro­phy.

‘‘It has been tough this year, I found it hard to carry on,’’ Lealaisalanoa said, through tears.

‘‘So many peo­ple have helped me carry on and get where I am to­day and I think I will be a bet­ter per­son for it.’’

Ear­lier, key­note speaker Dick Tayler re­galed ev­ery­one with how he fa­mously won the 10,000 me­tres at the 1974 Com­mon­wealth Games in Christchurch, un­der the tute­lage of Arthur Ly­di­ard.

While his anec­dotes went down well – in­clud­ing meet­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth and say­ing ‘‘ Hello, Mrs Queen’’ – his words about train­ing hard, never giv­ing up and lis­ten­ing to your coaches res­onated with the sports-minded au­di­ence.

The use of a couch on stage, where Ken La­ban ‘‘in­ter­viewed’’ cat­e­gory win­ners, was a mixed bag, earn­ing be­mused looks among the crowd.

Bernie Wood used the op­por­tu­nity to have a dig at Wainuiomata still claim­ing to be the league cap­i­tal of the re­gion, while Frank Rees said win­ning the Swin­dale Shield/Ju­bilee Cup dou­ble was a tes­ta­ment to his team, who ‘‘are a trib­ute to this city’’.

Ath­letic prow­ess: Top sports stars in Porirua came to­gether un­der Te Rau­paraha Arena’s roof last Thurs­day, with a big au­di­ence ap­pre­cia­tive of what the award fi­nal­ists had achieved in the past 12 months.

Vic­to­ri­ous Vik­ings: Mem­bers of the Porirua Vik­ings cel­e­brate their team of the year award with the club’s pres­i­dent Bernie Wood, re­cip­i­ent of the ser­vice to sport tro­phy.

Leesa on top: Leesa Lealaisalanoa was hum­ble and tear­ful in col­lect­ing the young sportsper­son and the supreme award at this year’s Porirua Sports Awards – re­peat­ing her feats from 2009.

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