Three finalists world-class performers

The ASB Otago Sports Awards continue. Today Adrian Seconi profiles the three finalists in the NZME Sports Woman of the Year category. 

Holly Robinson
Holly Robinson
Holly Robinson

Para athletics

One day Holly Robinson will get to the top step.

Maybe at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

But as consolation prizes go, silver medals are pretty decent.

The 25-year-old para athlete had another successful year with the javelin.

The Taieri thrower won silver in the F46 javelin at the para-athletics world championships in Dubai in November.

Her throw of 41.60m meant she collected her fifth silver medal from a major meet.

She led briefly before British rival Hollie Arnold responded with a championship-record throw of 44.73m, which was good enough to win gold.

Arnold has made a habit of knocking Robinson down a step. She did just that at the 2016 Olympics and again at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. And there have been other similar heartbreaking instances.

But Robinson continues to battle on and has committed to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

She missed getting out and throwing during the lockdown but she needed the break.

Ahead lies one more big effort before she perhaps moves on with life post-athletics.

Gina Crampton
Gina Crampton
Gina Crampton


The big three received most of the credit.

The efforts of veterans Casey Kopua and Laura Langman and the leadership of coach Noeline Taurua attracted most of the bouquets following the Silvers Ferns’ shock 52-51 win against Australia in the World Cup final.

But Steel midcourter Gina Crampton was one of the unsung heroes. The wing attack dished 16 goal assists and collected 25 centre passes in the final.

She was part of an impressive and disciplined midcourt effort which frustrated the tournament favourite.

Crampton was also named ANZ Premiership player of the year in 2019 for her part in helping the Steel reach the playoffs.

It came off the back of probably the biggest setback of her career. Crampton was overlooked for the ill-fated Commonwealth Games squad.

But she came back into the reckoning and was in the starting seven as the Ferns won the World Cup.

Courtney Duncan
Courtney Duncan
Courtney Duncan


Knocked down. Knocked out. Knocked over.

Fate kept finding ways to deny Courtney Duncan the title she had coveted since she was a 7-year-old girl racing the boys.

But not on her fourth attempt. The 24-year-old completely dominated the women's championship last season.

She won nine of the 10 races and claimed the crown with a race to spare. It was easy enough in the end but Duncan gave us all quite the ride.

She had been the fastest rider on the circuit since her debut in 2016. But her rookie season was derailed when she crashed into a stray photographer. A controversial decision by the officials robbed her of an opportunity to win the title the following season. And in 2018 she was forced to pull out with an injury when she had a convincing lead in the championship.

There were plenty of knockbacks but the Dunedin rider battled through the disappointment.

Duncan held firm to the belief she was the quickest rider and she was determined to win the title she had her eye on since she was a child.


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