Sadowski-Synnott missing from award finalists

The Otago Sports Awards finalist have been announced and they are missing a familiar name.

Snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has claimed the supreme title for the past two years but she has been overlooked in the sportswoman of the year category.

Silver Ferns and Steel midcourter Kate Heffernan, world champion motocross rider Courtney Duncan and Queenstown skier Alice Robinson will contest the category.

Duncan won her fourth world title in 2023 and Heffernan was named the best midcourter at last year’s World Cup.

Black Cap Glenn Phillips is up for Otago sportsman of the year alongside freeskier Nico Porteous and golfer Ben Campbell.

Phillips relocated to Otago from Auckland in 2022-23 and has established himself in all three formats for the Black Caps this summer, while Porteous is fresh from claiming silver at the X-Games in January in the hotly-contested superpipe event.

The 2022 Olympic gold medalist took a year off following his effort in the halfpipe in Beijing.

The team of the year is another tight category.

The Otago Sparks, the Otago men’s hockey team and the Otago 4x400m team all collected national titles.

The Otago men’s hockey team have strung together back-to-back titles, though, so that might give them the edge with the judges.

Skier Adam Hall and athletes Holly Robinson and Anna Grimaldi are up for para athlete/team of the year, while Lars Humer (swimming), Dave Ross (hockey) and Nils Coberger and Tim Cafe (ski racing) are the finalists in the coach of the year category.

World champion swimmer Erika Fairweather is up for junior sportswoman of the year. It might seem odd she is in a junior category when she is beating the best in the world, but she is still young, and she can still be eligible for the supreme award from this category. She is up against runner Catherine Lund and freeskier Ruby Star Andrews.

Freeskier Luca Harrington, cyclist James Gardner and hockey player Benji Culhane are the finalists for the junior sportsman of the year.