Bond wins supreme award a fifth time

New Zealand rowing great Hamish Bond might have collected his last Olympic gold medal on the water but he raked in another supreme award at the Otago Sports Awards last night.

Bond joined cyclist Greg Henderson as the only person to win the supreme award five times.

He headed off some strong competition from the other category winners. But his gold medal effort at the Rio Olympics last year always made him a clear favourite.

Bond, who also won the sportsman of the year award, is one half of arguably the greatest rowing combination in history. He teamed  with Eric Murray in 2009 and men’s coxless pair put together a remarkable winning streak. They were unbeaten in 69 consecutive races and won two Olympic golds and eight world championships, six of them in their favourite event.But following their commanding performance at Rio, the pair took a break.

Murray has since retired, while Bond is making a bold bid to return to the Olympics,  on a bike.

While he has not officially retired from rowing, Bond is stringing together some promising performances on two wheels. The 31-year-old will head to London next month, to help further his ambition to become a world-class time triallist.

White Ferns and Otago Sparks captain Suzie Bates  was named sportswoman of the year for a second consecutive year. Her leadership and silky skills with the bat are respected internationally.

She was named the ICC’s player of the year for one-day internationals and twenty20, a feat which has not been achieved by any other player. Bates (29)  led the Sparks to victory in the domestic twenty20 final with a fine innings of 74, and has a chance at more glory in England next month, when she leads the White Ferns at the World Cup.

Athletics coach Raylene Bates was a popular winner in the coach of the year category. She was the throwing coach at the Paralympics in Rio and coached Holly Robinson to silver in the F46 javelin. She also the managed the team.

The team of the year title went to the Otago Sparks. It is the second time in three years the Sparks have won the award.

The team continues to punch above its weight at the domestic level and was a somewhat surprise winner of the twenty20 competition.

Rising snowsports star Tiarn Collins won the junior sportsman of the year award. Collins is a part of a new wave of snowboarders from Central Otago who are taking the world by storm. Paralympian Anna Grimaldi won the junior sportswoman title. She produced a personal best of 5.62m — 21cm further than she had jumped before — to win the T47 long jump. Her wonderful reaction when she realised she had just won the gold medal was one of the more memorable moments of the Games.

The official of the year is a new award  and international umpire Chris Gaffaney will go down as the first winner. One of his highlights in the past 12 months was umpiring in the feisty series between India and Australia.

The services to sport award went to long-serving cricket administrator Murray Hughes. He stepped down from the board of the Otago Cricket Association in October after 15 years.

But his passion, dedication and commitment to the sport was honoured at the awards. Hughes was instrumental in the development of the University Oval but his advocacy for the women’s game was arguably his most significant contribution.

The research into concussion undertaken by Dr Danielle Salmon and Dr Hamish Osborne was recognised with the innovation in sport award.

Sport Otago chief executive John Brimble said the ASB Otago Sports Awards demonstrated "the exceptional talent that we produce within Otago".

"The awards provide us with the opportunity to reflect, recognise and celebrate their achievements."

The finalists and winners were selected by Megan Gibbons (Otago Polytechnic), Steve Hepburn (Otago Daily Times), Dominic George (NZME), Dean Horo (High Performance Sport New Zealand) and John Brimble (Sport Otago).  

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