Blyde wins top title
Rugby Sevens superstar Michaela Blyde has just become the 10th woman to win the Silks Audit Sportsperson of the Year Award at the Taranaki Sports Awards.
Blyde, who was recently named the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year 2018, grew up in Taranaki playing through the ranks of community rugby. She has had an amazing year, winning gold at the Commonwealth Games and taking out the World Cup for the Women’s Rugby Sevens.
She joins a celebrated list of women athletes who have won the award over the last 53 years.
The first was golfing star Glenys Taylor in 1970 through to the last woman to win the award in 2009 — surfing legend Paige Hareb.
Sport Taranaki CEO Howie Tamati said Blyde faced some tough competition for the overall award, including All Black Beauden Barrett, bodybuilder Farah Deobhakta and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Aidan Zittersteijn.
The judges were unanimous in their decision with Blyde’s outstanding achievements over the last 12 months and the inspiration she provides to younger players.
Hosted by Sport Taranaki, the Taranaki Sports Awards 2018 were held at the Devon Hotel on Friday, November 24 to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements by Taranaki athletes, coaches and officials over the last year.
The Tenderlink Senior Sportman of the Year was taken out by Beauden Barrett and the Taranaki Representative Tennis Team won the Hassall Homes Senior Team Award with their Christie Cup and ADIDAS Cup wins.
In the junior section, Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowls Bronze medallist Aidan Zittersteijn won the TSSSA Junior Sportsman’s award and the Toshiba Junior Sportswoman was taken away for the second year by runner Hannah O’Connor.
Beach volleyball duo Keegan Joe and David Jeffrey deservedly won the Timberco Junior Sports Team, with an amazing year of achievements which led them to the Youth Olympics Games in Argentina.
Boxing coach Jake Rapira, with the New Zealand team’s outstanding performance at the Commonwealth Games, won the WR Phillips Volkswagen Coach of the Year Award.
Local legends Jamie Sutherland (Yachting) and Adam Fraser (Surf Life Saving) walked away with the WR Phillips Mitsubishi Official of the Year Award and the IVHQ Coach of the Year Award respectively.
Four other sports coordinators were honoured with Service Awards for their dedication to sports; Jenni Brewer, Antony Joe, Teri Tamati and Karen Gillum-Green.
Howie Tamati, CEO of Sport Taranaki offered his congratulations to all 2018 finalists and winners.
“It’s fantastic to acknowledge all of our sporting stars who have performed on the big stage, whether that is regional, national or international.
“They have made their families, communities and province proud of what they have achieved.”
Michaela Blyde was awarded the Silks Audit Sportsperson of the Year Award at the Taranaki Sports Award last Friday.