Tight race for sports awards
Hurricanes and All Blacks kingpin Beauden Barrett faces competition from a world champion, an America’s Cup winner and two Commonwealth Games medallists to go back to back at next month’s Wellington sportsperson of the year awards.
Barrett, named World Rugby’s player of the year in 2017, has been confirmed as a finalist in the sportsman category he won last year.
His challengers are from a variety of codes: world champion Black Sox softballer Joel Evans, Team New Zealand America’s Cup winner Josh Junior, Black Sticks silver medallist Stephen Jenness and swimmer Lewis Clareburt, last year’s emerging sportsman winner who snared bronze in the pool at the Commonwealth Games.
The sportswoman category is equally tight with para-cyclist Kate Horan making two finals after her silver medal ride at the world paracycling track championships.
Also in the sportswoman finals are Commonwealth Games hockey gold medallist Kelsey Smith, kayaker Kayla Imrie and rower Jackie Kiddle who both shone at world championships, and cricketer Sophie Devine who was dominant at domestic and international level.
Softball features strongly with Mark Sorenson up for coach of the year after guiding the Black Soxmen to the world title. Rugby’s Wellington Lions and their coach Chris Gibbes are in the respective finals for team and coach, as are the Saints and Kevin Braswell after their perfect 20-0 season to win the National Basketball League title.
NBA star Steven Adams features in one category: personality of the year which will be decided by a public vote. Also there are Devine, rugby’s Asafo Aumua, netball’s Whitney Souness and cricket’s Michael Papps. Finalists for the Wellington sportsperson of the year awards on June 20:
Sportsman: Beauden Barrett (rugby), Lewis Clareburt (swimming), Joel Evans (softball), Stephen Jenness (hockey), Josh Junior (sailing).
Sportswoman: Sophie Devine (cricket), Kate Horan (para-cycling), Kayla Imrie (canoe sprint), Jackie Kiddle (rowing), Kelsey Smith (hockey).
Coach: Kevin Braswell (basketball), Chris Gibbes (rugby), Gary Hollywood (swimming), Mark Sorenson (softball), Christie van Dyk (cricket), GlenWilson (squash).
Team: Eastbourne bowls, Hutt Valley men’s softball, Hutt Valley women’s softball, Lions rugby, Saints basketball, Scottish men’s athletics.
Disabled sportsperson: Patrick Donovan (para-athletics), Ben Ellis (para-athletics), Mary Fisher (para-swimming), Kate Horan (paracycling), Libby Leikis (para-athletics).
Emerging sportsman: Jakob Bhula (cricket), Brad Carson (softball), Seamus Curtin (bowls), Elijah Just (football), Campbell Robinson (athletics).
Emerging sportswoman: Qona Christie (judo), Darae Chung (golf), Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (netball), Imogen Skelton (athletics), DanielleWatson (canoe sprint).
Club: HikoikoiWaka Ama, Mana Kayak Racing, Special OlympicsWellington, Tawa Squash, Wellington Rowing.
Official: Gareth Fowler (netball), Jim McIlroy (athletics), Ben O’Keeffe (rugby), Wayne Saunders (softball), Michelle Woolf (gymnastics).
Trish McKelvey leadership award: Nina Brown (rowing), Christina Edmonds (rugby), Lisa Jones (football), Jo Murray (athletics), Brad Shields (rugby).
Volunteer: Malcolm Benge (cricket), Keith Fraser (sailing), Chris Kingston (judo), Bubs Reweti (netball), Allan Smith (football).
Personality: Steven Adams (basketball), Asafo Aumua (rugby), Sophie Devine (cricket), Michael Papps (cricket), Whitney Souness (netball).
Wellington Blaze allrounder Sophie Devine is among the finalists for sportswoman of the year.