Five Otago athletes among Halberg Award finalists

Five Otago athletes were among the Halberg Award finalists named yesterday.

They were part of 28 final nominees for the six awards, which will be presented in Auckland on February 23.

Motocross world champion Courtney Duncan was among the sportswoman of the year nominees.

She has tough competition from triple Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington, as well as Emma Twigg, Lydia Ko and Sarah Hirini.

Paralympic athletics champion duo Anna Grimaldi and Holly Robinson are both up for para-athlete of the year.

They will compete against fellow athlete Lisa Adams, as well as swimmers Sophie Pascoe and Tupou Neiufi.

In emerging athlete of the year Olympic swimmer Erika Fairweather and snowboarder Cool Wakushima were both nominated.

They will go up against discus thrower Connor Bell, Silver Fern Grace Nweke and footballer Marko Stamenic.

Former Otago rower Hamish Bond was also named a finalist in the sportsman of the year category.

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson, squash star Paul Coll and driver Scott Dixon were also included.

Team of the year will be contested by the Black Caps, Black Ferns Sevens, Team New Zealand, the rowing men’s eight and the women’s pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast.

Sevens coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney, Black Caps coach Gary Stead, canoe’s Gordon Walker and rowing’s Tony O’Connor are up for coach of the year.

Halberg Awards finalists

Para-athlete/team of the year: Anna Grimaldi (athletics), Holly Robinson (athletics), Lisa Adams (athletics), Sophie Pascoe (swimming), Tupou Neiufi (swimming).

Sportsman of the year: Hamish Bond (rowing), Kane Williamson (cricket), Paul Coll (squash), Scott Dixon (motorsport).

Sportswoman of the year: Courtney Duncan (motocross), Emma Twigg (rowing), Lisa Carrington (canoe racing), Lydia Ko (golf), Sarah Hirini (rugby sevens).

Team of the year: Black Caps (cricket), Black Ferns Sevens (rugby sevens), Team New Zealand (sailing), rowing men’s eight (rowing), women’s pair Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast (rowing).

Coach of the year: Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney (rugby sevens), Gary Stead (cricket), Gordon Walker (canoe racing), Tony O'Connor (rowing).

Emerging talent: Connor Bell (athletics), Cool Wakushima (snowboarding), Erika Fairweather (swimming), Grace Nweke (netball), Marko Stamenic (football).

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