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News posted on Wednesday 19th January, 2022

Tokyo Paralympians in the running for Halberg Award

Five Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallists are among the 28 finalists for the 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards – the nation’s pre-eminent event to honour and celebrate sporting achievements by New Zealand teams and athletes.

The five Paralympians have been shortlisted for the ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Team of the Year award, and include Paralympian #166 Dame Sophie Pascoe, who won two gold, a silver and bronze medal, long jumper Paralympian #195 Anna Grimaldi who won a gold medal, javelin thrower Paralympian #183 Holly Robinson who won a gold medal, shot putter Paralympian #210 Lisa Adams who won a gold medal, and Para swimmer Paralympian #201 Tupou Neiufi who also won a gold medal.

The five Paralympians are among 19 finalists who are eligible for the Supreme Halberg Award, the country’s highest accolade for sporting excellence, presented to the athlete or team whose achievement is deemed by the judges as representing excellence in sport at the highest level. Only finalists from the Para Athlete/Team, Sportswoman, Sportsman and Team categories are eligible for the Supreme Award.

Paralympics New Zealand CE Fiona Allan feels it’s about time that a Paralympian is recognised as the Halberg Supreme Award winner.

“Over the history of the Halberg Awards, since the 1980s, our Paralympians have won over 150 medals for New Zealand, almost half of them gold. In New Zealand we have great sportspeople, but arguably even greater Para sportspeople. We really punch above our weight as a nation”.

“Among the current Paralympian nominees, we have one of the greatest Para athletes the world has ever seen. In 2021 she won four medals at the pinnacle event in her sport, the Paralympic Games, against strong competition. If that’s not a supreme achievement, I don’t know what is.”

Paralympics New Zealand CE, Fiona Allan.

Dame Sophie Pascoe is ranked 11th female in the world for medals won at summer Paralympic Games since the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960. Across male and females, she ranks 26th in the world. Pascoe has won more medals than any other NZ Paralympian or Olympian at a Paralympic or Olympic Games ever, with a total of 19 medals.

The Halberg Awards judges of former athletes, coaches and sports journalists selected the shortlist of 28 from 79 nominations for the six categories.

The winners will be announced at the 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards ceremony at Spark Arena, Auckland on Wednesday 23 February 2022, and broadcast live on Sky Sport and free to air on Prime TV from 8pm.

The New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment (public vote category) and Sport New Zealand Leadership awards will also be presented on the night. 

Paralympics New Zealand congratulates all finalists.

Full list of finalists for the 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards

ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Team of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award)

Anna Grimaldi (Para athletics), Holly Robinson (Para athletics), Lisa Adams (Para athletics), Dame Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming), Tupou Neiufi (Para swimming).

ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award)

Hamish Bond (rowing), Kane Williamson (cricket), Paul Coll (squash), Scott Dixon (motorsport).

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award)

Courtney Duncan (motocross), Emma Twigg (rowing), Dame Lisa Carrington (canoe racing), Lydia Ko (golf), Sarah Hirini (rugby sevens).

ISPS Handa Team of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award)

Black Caps (cricket), Black Ferns Sevens (rugby sevens), Emirates Team New Zealand (sailing), Rowing Men’s Eight (rowing), Women’s Pair Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast (rowing).

Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year

Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney (rugby sevens), Gary Stead (cricket), Gordon Walker (canoe racing), Tony O’Connor (rowing).

Sky Sport Emerging Talent

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

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