Otago's Zoi Sadowski-Synnott nominated for ESPY award

Wanaka snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. Photo: Getty Images
Wanaka snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. Photo: Getty Images

Kiwi snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has capped off a stellar season with an ESPY award nomination.

She is one of four Kiwi nominees this year alongside New Zealand footballer Abby Erceg, mixed martial artist Israel Adesanya and IndyCar driver Scott Dixon.

Abby Erceg is up for the Best American National Women's Soccer League (NSWL) player award alongside Lindsey Horan, Adrianna Franch and Sam Kerr.

Erceg, currently playing for New Zealand at the Women's Football World Cup in France, has played for the North Carolina Courage since 2017, making over 52 appearances and scoring three goals.

Veteran Abby Erceg could make a return to Football Ferns colours. Photo: Getty Images
Veteran Kiwi footballer Abby Erceg . Photo: Getty Images

Israel Adesanya is up for Best Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fighter alongside men's UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and UFC women's bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes.

Adesanya is the UFC interim middleweight title holder after beating Kelvin Gastelum in April via unanimous decision.

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott is up against skier Kelly Sildaru, fellow snowboarder Chloe Kim and surfer Stephanie Gilmore for Best Female Sports Athlete.

Sadowski-Synnott is the current slopestyle world champion, US Open slopestyle champion and 2019 Winter X Games gold medallist - also in the slopestyle.

In 2018 she won bronze at the Winter Olympics in the Big Air event.

Israel Adesanya during his win over Kevin Gastelum in Atlanta. Photo: Getty Images
Israel Adesanya during his win over Kevin Gastelum in Atlanta. Photo: Getty Images

Scott Dixon is up for the Best Driver award - he faces stiff competition from Formula One champion, Lewis Hamilton, American drag racer Steve Torrence and Nascar driver Kyle Busch.

Dixon is the reigning IndyCar champion and was recently named in the New Zealand Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Also up for awards are tennis stars Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, golfers Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods, basketballers Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, footballers Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil Van Dijk and American gymnast Simone Biles.

The winners of the 29th ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 11 July NZT.

A stellar year for Wanaka snowboarder

Following an outstanding year of results – including a World Championship title, gold and silver X Games medals and a U.S Open Snowboarding Championship title – Sadowski-Synnott has been nominated for the Best Female Action Sports Athlete award at the ESPYS.

The 18-year-old made history at last year's Winter Olympics after winning bronze in the women's big air, briefly becoming the New Zealand's youngest ever Olympic medallist before Nico Porteous won bronze a few hours later.

Sadowski-Synnott says it feels "crazy" to be nominated in the category.

"I just look at the past year in wonder and can't believe how everything's gone. I'm stoked to be nominated, it's a huge honour," said Sadowski-Synnott, who hopes to attend the awards ceremony in Los Angeles on 10 July.

Sadowski-Synnott is up against stiff competition in her category with Estonian freeskier Kelly Sildaru – who notched up three medals at this year's X Games – also in the running.

Australian Stephanie Gilmore – with Seven World Surf League Championship titles to her name - rounds out the list of nominees.

New Zealand athletes previously nominated for ESPYS include golfer Lydia Ko – named Best Female Golfer in 2015 and 2016 and nominated for Best International Athlete in 2015 – and Kiwi IndyCar driver Scott Dixon who was nominated for Best Driver in 2015.

Running since 1993, the ESPYS are presented by the American network ABC and previously ESPN, to recognise individual and team sporting achievements on the world stage.

Award winners are chosen through voting by fans as well as a panel of sportswriters, broadcasters, sports executives, and sportspersons.

 - NZME. and RNZ

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