Sports awards: Olympians to fore in Halberg nominations

New Zealanders Hamish Bond and Eric Murray celebrate after winning gold in the final of the men's pair, at Eton Dorney during the 2012 London Olympics in August. Photo by The New Zealand Herald.
New Zealanders Hamish Bond and Eric Murray celebrate after winning gold in the final of the men's pair, at Eton Dorney during the 2012 London Olympics in August. Photo by The New Zealand Herald.
Olympians, not surprisingly, dominate the nominees for the Halberg Awards and Otago athletes feature in the individual, team and promising athletes categories.

There are 63 nominations for the awards, to be handed out in February. The long list will be whittled down to finalists early in the New Year.

Frontrunners for the big award of the night, the Halberg award, are rower Mahe Drysdale, shot putter Valerie Adams, and rowing pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond.

Joining Drysdale in the nominations for the male athlete of the year are All Black captain Richie McCaw, cyclist Simon van Velthooven and Geraldine rally driver Hayden Paddon.

Adams will face competition from the likes of fellow London gold medallist Lisa Carrington, and Otago cyclist Alison Shanks.

The team category has some heavy hitters, although it may be hard to go past Otago rowers Bond and Murray, who climaxed a three-year unbeaten run with victory in London.

Also in the team category are the All Blacks, the Chiefs, all the other rowing crews who won medals at the London Olympics, and the gold medal-winning yachting crew of Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie.

The emerging talent field is led by star golfer Lydia Ko, along with Alexandra cyclist Sophie Williamson and Waimate cyclist Dylan Kennett.

Swimmer Sophie Pascoe looms as favourite for the disabled sportsperson award.

There were 11 nominations for the coach of the year award. Rowing coach Richard Tonks is likely to face competition from the likes of All Black coach Steve Hansen and canoeing coach Gordon Walker.

The nominations are. -New Zealand sportsman of the year: Jack Bauer (cycling), Scott Campbell (baseball), Mahe Drysdale (rowing), Mitch Evans (motorsport), Westley Gough (cycling), Richie McCaw (rugby), Brook MacDonald (mountain biking), Peter Michael (speed skating), Andrew Nicholson (equestrian), Hayden Paddon (motorsport), Levi Sherwood (freestyle motocross), Simon van Velthooven (cycling).

New Zealand sportswoman of the year: Valerie Adams (athletics), Lauren Boyle (swimming), Lisa Carrington (canoeing), Joelle King (squash), Lydia Ko (golf), Sarah Walker (BMX), Alison Shanks (cycling), Linda Villumsen (cycling).

Disabled sportsperson of the year: Mary Fisher (swimming), Phillipa Gray (cycling), Cameron Leslie (swimming), Sophie Pascoe (swimming), Daniel Sharp (swimming), Fiona Southorn (cycling).

Team of the year: All Blacks (rugby), Chiefs (rugby), New Zealand Diamond Blacks (baseball), John Kennard and Hayden Paddon (motorsport), Olympic eventing team (equestrian), men's 49er team, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (yachting), men's double scull, Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan (rowing), men's lightweight double scull, Peter Taylor and Storm Uru (rowing), men's pair, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (rowing), men's pursuit team, Sam Bewley, Marc Ryan, Jesse Sergent, Westley Gough, Aaron Gate (cycling), New Zealand Breakers (basketball), men's sprint team, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, Edward Dawkins (cycling), New Zealand team (surf life-saving), women's 470 team, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (yachting), women's pair, Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh (rowing), Silver Ferns (netball), Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic (netball).

Emerging talent: Anton Cooper (mountain biking), Macauley Fox (baseball), Trent Jones (BMX), Dylan Kennett (track cycling), Lydia Ko (golf), Andrew McKenzie (yachting), Corey Main (swimming), Mathew Ogden (orienteering), Sophie Williamson (road cycling).

Coach of the year: Scott Bartlett (surf life-saving), Roly Crichton (swimming), Erik Duvander (equestrian), Calvin Ferguson (rowing), Nathan Handley (yachting), Steve Hansen (rugby), Dave Rennie (rugby), Waimarama Taumaunu (netball), Noeline Taurua (netball), Richard Tonks (rowing), Gordon Walker (canoeing).