Otago award finalists announced

The finalists have been announced for the Otago Sports Awards, and all categories are jam packed with talent.

The awards, sponsored by ASB, is set for the Dunedin Town Hall on May 19, after a sporting year where Otago athletes performed all over the planet.

In the sportsman of the year category, Olympic champion Hamish Bond will go up against test cricketer Neil Wagner and bowls veteran Mike Kernaghan.

Three finalists contest the sportswoman of the year award. International cricketer and last year's winner Suzie Bates will go up against Paralympic silver medallist Holly Robinson and Southern Steel and Silver Fern netballer Gina Crampton.

In the coach of the year category, Raylene Bates will go up against one of her fellow para-athlete coaches in Brent Ward. The coaches list is rounded out by snow sports coach Mitchell Brown.

Palmerston motocross speedster Courtney Duncan returns to defend the junior sportswoman of the Year award, but is up against some tough competition.

She will line up against Paralympic gold medalist Anna Grimaldi and World Cup gold medalist snowboarder Zoi Sadowski Synnott.

The junior sportsman of the year award will be decided between slopestyle and halfpipe snowboarder Tiarn Collins, Otago Volts paceman Nathan Smith and promising surfer Elliot Brown.

In the team of the year category, all three finalists won national titles. The teams contesting the award are the Otago cricket under-19 team, the Netball South Beko team and the 2014 winner of this award, the Otago Sparks cricket team.

A new category for this year's awards is the official of the year award, which recognises the contribution of officials. Finalist for this year's award include hockey umpire Gareth Williams, netball umpire and rugby referee Jono Bredin and Otago Volt turned international cricket umpire Chris Gaffaney.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner. There will also be a Services to Sport award and an Innovation in Sport award handed out.

Guest speaker at the event will be former New Zealand Breakers player and now team general manager Dillon Boucher.

The supreme award was won by the Highlanders rugby team last year.

The awards are organised by Sport Otago and are judged by Otago Polytechnic head of school institute of sport and adventure Megan Gibbons, NZME radio host Dominic George, Otago Daily Times sports editor Steve Hepburn, High Performance Sport New Zealand adviser Dean Horo and Sport Otago chief executive John Brimble.

Finalists:

Sportsman: Hamish Bond, Neil Wagner, Mike Kernaghan
Sportswoman: Suzie Bates, Holly Robinson, Gina Crampton
Junior sportsman: Nathan Smith, Tiarn Collins, Elliot Brown
Junior sportswoman: Courtney Duncan, Anna Grimaldi, Zoi Sadowski Synnott
Team of the year: Otago Sparks, Otago under-19 cricket team, Netball South Beko league team
Coach: Raylene Bates, Brent Ward, Mitchell Brown
Official: Gareth Williams, Chris Gaffaney, Jono Bredin

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