Back-to-back honours for Leesa
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.