Sport-award entries encouraged

Nominations have opened for the 2013 Central Otago Sports Awards, this year being presented in Queenstown.

Awards co-ordinator Bill Godsall said it was important for clubs, coaches, friends or family of sports people to nominate them for the awards, sponsored by House of Travel.

''It's very important for people to give us nominations for their club or sport so their sport at least has a chance to be recognised,'' he said.

The judging panel, led by Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper, would go through all nominations, whittling them down to the top five in each of the six categories - senior sportsman, senior sportswoman, junior sportsman, junior sportswoman, team and coach.

The finalists would progress to judging in their respective categories, with the winner of each category then in the running for the supreme award.

A services to sport award would also be chosen by the judges, to be presented during the awards evening.

Mr Godsall said even though Central Otago had many world-class athletes, people should not let that deter them for nominating sports people who might not have reached international level.

''A lot of people think they're not good enough or they're embarrassed to be nominated, and they think they haven't got a chance, but I say, let the judges make the decision.''

The awards would also include a junior roll of honour, introduced to recognise junior sports people who might not have made the junior category but were still talented and worthy of recognition.

Mr Godsall said the junior categories and the senior sportswoman category usually attracted the most entries, with the latter growing in popularity over the past few years.

Previously, the senior sportswoman category attracted about two or three entries, but Mr Godsall attributed the growth to a combination of factors.

''When I started this role 10 years ago, one of our KPIs (key performance indicators) was to get more women out there [into sport].

''Sports that are important to our region, females make up the [majority of the] numbers ... snow sports, multisport, mountain biking.

''Our women are driven,

''If you show a guy the skill, if he can do it, he'll think he's conquered it. A woman will want to improve it.

''If they do something, they want to do it incredibly well.''

The awards ceremony will be held at the Rydges Lakeland Resort in Queenstown on April 5. Nominations close on March 1.

Nomination forms can be collected from Sports Central in Cromwell or by contacting Mr Godsall on 021 442-626.