Kiwi eventer Andrew Nicholson has been named as a finalist for Sportsman of the Year in New Zealand’s Halberg Awards.
The annual awards celebrate sporting excellence among New Zealanders, and 25 finalists have been named in six categories for 2013.
Nicholson is up against track cycling world champion Aaron Gate Aaron Gate, IRB Player of the Year, All Black Kieran Read (Rugby), and IndyCar champion Scott Dixon. His nomination comes after a year of major successes, including wins in the four-star Kentucky Three-Day-Event, Luhmühlen, Pau and Burghley. He is currently ranked as the world’s number one eventing rider.
A Voting Academy consisting of 30 former athletes, coaches and media representatives selected the finalists from 58 nominations.
The winners of the Sportsman, Sportswoman, Disabled Sportsperson and Team of the Year Award categories will again be eligible for the country’s most prestigious accolade for sporting excellence – the Halberg Award.
When selecting the finalists the Voting Academy had to determine whether the achievements represented excellence in sport at the highest level. They also considered if it was in that sport’s ‘pinnacle event’, whether it was a world record, a world ranking or recognition, the quality of the field or competition and the global nature of the sport.
Finalists for the 51st Westpac Halberg Awards:
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year
Aaron Gate (Cycling), Andrew Nicholson (Equestrian), Kieran Read (Rugby), Scott Dixon (Motorsport).
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year
Lauren Boyle (Swimming), Lisa Carrington (Canoeing), Lydia Ko (Golf), Valerie Adams (Athletics).
Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year
David Monk (Blind Bowling), Mary Fisher (Para Swimming), Mike Johnson (Para Shooting), Sophie Pascoe (Para Swimming).
Westpac Team of the Year
All Blacks (Rugby), Black Sox (Softball), Men’s Pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (Rowing), Women’s 470 – Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Yachting) and Men’s 49er Class Team – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Yachting).
Coach of the Year
Eddie Kohlhase (Softball), Guy Wilson (Golf), Nathan Handley (Yachting), Steve Hansen (Rugby).
Westpac Emerging Talent
Ella Williams (Surfing), Gabrielle Fa’amausili (Swimming), Jake Lewis (Motorcycling), Tom Murray (Rowing).
The 30-strong Voting Academy comprising media representatives, former athletes and coaches is:
Andy Hay, Hamish Carter, Ron Palenski, Danyon Loader, TeArahi Maipi, Mark Sorensen, Andrew Mulligan, Philippa Baker Hogan, Michelle Pickles, Ron Cheatley, Rikki Swannell, Duane Kale, Mike Stanley, Dana Johannsen, Jayne Kiely, Jonathan Millmow, Farah Palmer, Dave Leggat, Ramesh Patel, Marc Hinton, Mark Richardson, Brendan Telfer, Awen Guttenbiel, Fred Woodcock, Graeme Crosby, Adine Wilson, Michael Jones, Sarah Ulmer, Susie Simcock, Beatrice Faumuina.