Posted on Monday 26th February, 2024

New Zealand Paralympian #222 Nicole Murray is shortlisted for a prestigious Laureus World Sports Award for her remarkable achievements in 2023.

The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sporting awards. First held in 2000, the annual event honours the greatest and most inspirational sporting achievements from the year.

Murray, stunned by the nomination, describes it as “such an honour”:

“I still can’t really comprehend it. It’s so so cool.”

The Waitomo Paralympian is shortlisted for a Laureus Award in the World Sportsperson with a Disability category. She is the only Kiwi in any category, and the only Para cyclist among the nominees. She is nominated alongside:

  • Italian Para swimmer Simone Barlaam
  • Dutch Wheelchair tennis player Diede de Groot
  • Ukrainian Para swimmer Danylo Chufarov
  • German long jumper Markus Rehm
  • Hungarian sprinter and long jumper Luca Ekler

31-year-old Murray is one of the world’s top Para cyclists by world ranking. A left hand amputee from a childhood accident, she competes in the C5 sports class. Once a track specialist, Murray has now won a number of road cycling titles as well, making her also an extremely versatile athlete.

This is the second year in a row where New Zealand has been represented on the shortlist by its phenomenal Paralympic talent, with Paralympian #164 Cameron Leslie the only shortlisted New Zealander in the 2023 Laureus Awards. Past Laureus winners include Dan Carter and (separately) the All Blacks in 2016, Sir Peter Blake in 2002, and Levi Sherwood in 2011.

6 small images of the Laureus finalists, with their names, sports and countries labelled. Nicole Murray is included.

Paralympics New Zealand CEO Greg Warnecke emphasises that this recognition is just one of the many reasons for New Zealanders to be excited about supporting Paralympians and Para athletes on their journey to Paris 2024.

“Nicole is an incredibly talented athlete and truly deserves this global recognition. Inspirational performances like Nicole’s can change lives. I am thrilled about the impact that this Laureus nomination will bring, and the people who will experience the power of Para sport as a result.

“Nicole’s achievements reflect the exceptional talent in Para sport in New Zealand. The upcoming Paris 2024 Paralympic Games promise to be a captivating journey for everyone: athletes, spectators, fans, commercial partners, and New Zealand overall.”

Nicole Murray’s sporting achievements in 2023

Murray, who is coached by Damian Wiseman, had an incredible 2023 season, building with consistency on a phenomenal breakout year in 2022. 2023 culminated in Nicole being recognised as the world’s best Female Summer Athlete of the Year at the 2023 PARA SPORT Awards.

The Waikato-based Paralympian began the year with a spectacular Para Cycling Road World Cup series. There she earned 2 gold and 2 silver medals. This best-in-series result allowed her to claim the series jersey for most accumulated points in the competitive women’s C5 classification.

She went on to claim a world title and rainbow jersey on the track in the 2023 Cycling World Championships. She also bagged a silver and a bronze medal competing against strong competition in the C5 Women’s classification. Murray also set a new PB in the 3km Individual Pursuit of 3 min 40.946.

With 4 Road World Cup medals and 3 Track World Championships medals, she demonstrates remarkable diversity in her skills. What’s more, she earned them with standout performances across the full breadth of event types in 2023. Murray is now ranked 3rd in Road and 2nd in Track for C5 women. She is the most consistent and most successful Para cycling C5 female athlete for 2023.

Murray’s success echoes the trajectory of high performance Para cycling in Aotearoa New Zealand over recent years. The programme has gone from strength to strength. 2022 and 2023 were sequential ‘best ever’ years in terms of world championships medals. This promises an exciting Paris 2024 Paralympic Games ahead for our nation.

On a stage, with the words "Para sport awards ceremony" behind, a slender fair haired woman shakes hands with a man in a white arab robe and headscarf
Nicole receives Best Summer Female Athlete award, September 2023