Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Halberg Awards 2012

The finalists for the Halberg Awards for 2012 were announced yesterday, and as expected, Olympic sports feature prominently but not exclusively. Here, via the Herald are the nominees:

Sportswoman of the Year:
Lisa Carrington (Canoeing)
Valerie Adams (Athletics)
Lydia Ko (Golf)
Sarah Walker (BMX)

Sportsman of the Year:
Mahe Drysdale (Rowing)
Andrew Nicholson (Equestrian)
Simon van Velthooven (Cycling)
Richie McCaw (Rugby)

Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award:
Cameron Leslie (Para Swimming)
Mary Fisher (Para Swimming)
Phillipa Gray (Para Cycling)
Sophie Pascoe (Para Swimming)

Team of the Year:
NZ Men's Double Scull - Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen (Rowing)
NZ Men's Pair - Eric Murray & Hamish Bond (Rowing)
NZ Women's 470 Team - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Sailing)
NZ Men's 49er Class Team - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Sailing)
All Blacks (Rugby)

* The supreme Halberg Award comes from the winner of these categories.

Emerging Talent:
Andrew McKenzie (Sailing)
Lydia Ko (Golf)
Dylan Kennett (Track Cycling)
Anton Cooper (Mountain Biking)

Coach of the Year:
Gordon Walker (Canoeing)
Richard Tonks (Rowing)
Calvin Ferguson (Rowing)
Nathan Handley (Sailing)

The Sportswoman of the Year looks to be the most competitive category. Our pick is Lydia Ko, but she won't win it in an Olympic year, which is a travesty. Ko played sensational golf right through 2012 from her first professional win in Australia in January until her winning the individual title at the 2012 Espirito Santo World Womens Amateur Championships in October in Turkey. In between times she won the Australian Women's Amateur title, the US Women's Amateur and the Canadian Open, one of the richest women's professional tournaments on the LPGA Tour schedule.

As if that wasn't enough, Lydia Ko was also the low amateur at both the US and British Open Championships. Had she been able to accept the prize money for her Sydney and Canadian professional event wins, she would have been the highest paid New Zealand sportswoman by some distance.

Despite Ko's stellar year, she will not in all probability win the Halberg Award. It is likely to go to either Lisa Carrington or Valerie Adams, Olympic gold medallists. Of course Lydia Ko will have the opportunity to right that injustice in 2016 by winning the Women's golf at the Rio Olympics!

So here are our picks for who WILL win, with who we think SHOULD win in brackets:

Sportswoman of the Year: Lisa Carrington (Lydia Ko)
Sportsman of the Year: Mahe Drysdale (Mahe Drysdale)
Team of the Year: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (Murray and Bond)
 Disabled Sportsperson of the Year: Sophie Pascoe (Sophie Pascoe or Cameron Leslie)
Emerging Talent: Lydia Ko (Anton Cooper; Lydia Ko has already emerged!)
Coach of the Year: Richard Tonks (Richard Tonks)
Supreme Award: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (Murray and Bond)

So what do YOU reckon?


Ozy Mandias said...

I dont understand how Ko is even on the list let alone having a chance to win the thing.

The Halbergs are for the pinnacle of New Zealand sport. She has not even reached the top of her sport let alone done enough to beat the others.

A word was mentioned four times in your article is the clincher for me 'amateur'. That means that she was not even against the top people in her sport.

Keeping Stock said...

I disagree completely Ozy. Where is the rule that prevents an amateur from being recognised at the Halbergs?

Lydia Ko has been the best female amateur golfer on the planet for two years now, and this year won all three of the top amateur titles she contested. She also had two wins in the pay-for-play ranks; an unparalleled performance. Ranked against the other top players in her sport (women's amateur golf) she is the world's best. There are far more contestants in her chosen sport than there are in shot-putting or sprint kayaking.

Ozy Mandias said...

There is no rule that stops amateurs from winning the Halbergs but the fact that the majority of her victories come against fields that do not include the worlds best female golfers mean that her results have not been on a world stage. I cant see how she has been our top sports woman.

The same goes for Sophie Pascoe. She is the best at what she does in the world and a fantastic athlete - but in a field that is limited due to the rules.

In my opinion to win the Halbergs you must be the best in the entire world in your sport - not in a class or sub category of a sport.

If Ko wins it does it open the door for all those others who play in other similiar sports

What about the U16 NZ girl who became World Champion at the Triathlon champs held in Auckland. Is she in the running. No. Matched against Ko she is the best in the world in her age group - just like Ko.

If there was an award for unparralleled performance then I think she should win hands down. Being so young and so successful puts her at the top. But age isn't a factor in the Halbergs.