The Halberg Foundation has today announced 79 nominations have been submitted from National Sports Organisations and an independent Nominations Board for the 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards.

Created by Olympic gold medallist Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ) in 1963 to honour and celebrate sporting excellence, the Awards are the major fundraiser for the Halberg Foundation – the charity he founded which aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled young New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation.

An independent Nominations Board, comprising respected individuals from the sports sector, has confirmed the nominations in six categories.  The winners will be announced at the 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards 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 nominations come from 24 sporting codes for achievements within the last two years (1 December 2019 to 30 November 2021).  This is a change from the standard 12 months due to the impact of COVID-19 on global sporting competitions with Halberg hosting a Decade Champion ceremony instead in March 2021.

The ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year has received the most nominations with 22 across 16 sports. The list includes Halberg Award Decade Champion rower Hamish Bond, four cyclists in George Bennett, Campbell Stewart, Corbin Strong and Aaron Gate; three motorsport drivers – Scott Dixon, Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin; and two sailors, Josh Junior and Andy Maloney.  Black Caps captain Kane Williamson and All Black Sevens captain Scott Curry are nominated along with shot-putter Tom Walsh, footballer Chris Wood, trampolinist Dylan Schmidt, squash player Paul Coll; swimmer Lewis Clareburt, skier Nico Porteous; triathlete Hayden Wilde; jockey James McDonald; canoe slalom paddler Finn Butcher and boxer David Nyika.

There are 10 nominations for the ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Team of the Year including six-time winner Sophie Pascoe and fellow Para swimmer Tupou Neiufi.  Five Para athletics nominees have been put forward; Anna Grimaldi, Holly Robinson, Lisa Adams, Will Stedman and Danielle Aitchison; along with three from Para cycling; Nicole Murray, Sarah Ellington and the Women’s Tandem of Emma Foy and Hannah van Kampen.

The High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year award attracted 13 nominations covering 10 sports. They comprise Decade Champion winner Lisa Carrington, three cyclists Mikayla Harvey, Niamh Fisher-Black and Ellesse Andrews; triple supreme winner Dame Valerie Adams; canoe slalom athlete Luuka Jones; footballer Ria Percival; rower Emma Twigg; golfer Lydia Ko; two from snow sports Alice Robinson and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott; motocross rider Courtney Duncan and Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini.

The ISPS Handa Team of the Year has 14 nominations from 11 sports. The list includes 2019 supreme award winner the Silver Ferns, the OlyWhites, two cycling teams – the Madison pair of Aaron Gate and Campbell Stewart and men’s Team Pursuit.  Two rowing teams – the Women’s Pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast and the Men’s Eight; sailing duo Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Emirates Team New Zealand; tennis doubles pair Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus are nominated. The Black Caps, Black Ferns Sevens, New Zealand Croquet team, Women’s K2500 of Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Regal and the New Zealand Long Blacks round out the list.

The nominees for Para Athlete/Team, Sportswoman, Sportsman and Team are all eligible for the supreme Halberg Award, the country’s highest accolade for sport excellence.

There are 12 nominations for the Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year including the Decade Champion Gordon Walker. The Women’s Canoe Sprint team coach and his fellow canoe racing coach Nathan Luce are up along with Black Ferns Sevens co-coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney and Gary Stead who guided the Black Caps.  Three nominations are in the pool including Gary Hollywood who led Lewis Clareburt, Sophie Pascoe’s coach Roly Crichton and fellow Para swimmer Tupou Neiufi’s coach Sheldon Kemp. Tony O’Connor for the Men’s Rowing Eight, Dale Stevenson coach of Dame Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh; OlyWhites coach Danny Hay, men’s cycling coach Craig Palmer and windsurfing coach Aaron McIntosh are also up.

The Sky Sport Emerging Talent Award has attracted eight outstanding nominations for rising young athletes.  Two nominees are from snow sports; snowboarder Cool Wakushima and freestyle skier Luca Harrington along with discus thrower Connor Bell; OlyWhites midfielder Marko Stamenic; swimmer Erika Fairweather; goal shooter Grace Nweke; Para cyclist Devon Briggs and canoe slalom athlete George Snook.

The ISPS Handa Halberg Awards judges – comprising mainly former elite athletes and coaches, sports administrators and current sports media – will now review the nominations and vote on a shortlist of finalists to be announced in January 2022.

The ISPS Handa Halberg Awards is New Zealand sport’s biggest night of the year, staged in a glittering black-tie ceremony at Spark Arena, Auckland on Wednesday 23 February 2022 and televised live and free to air on Sky Sport and Prime TV. Two other awards will be presented on the night; New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment the public vote category and Sport New Zealand Leadership. Tickets are available now by contacting [email protected]

“The Halberg Foundation is delighted with the extensive array of nominations from diverse sporting codes that have been submitted for the Awards,” says Halberg Foundation Chief Executive, Shelley McMeeken.

“The quality of performances is even more remarkable given the challenging environment of the past two years. We look forward to bringing together the best of New Zealand sport for an evening of celebration in February 2022.”

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

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

Aaron Gate (cycling – track), Andy Maloney (sailing), Campbell Stewart (cycling – track), Chris Wood (football), Corbin Strong (cycling – track), David Nyika (boxing), Dylan Schmidt (gymnastics), Finn Butcher (canoe slalom), George Bennett (cycling – road), Hamish Bond (rowing), Hayden Wilde (triathlon), James McDonald (horse-racing), Josh Junior (sailing), Kane Williamson (cricket), Lewis Clareburt (swimming), Nico Porteous (freeskiing), Paul Coll (squash), Scott Curry (Rugby Sevens), Scott Dixon (motorsport), Scott McLaughlin (motorsport), Shane van Gisbergen (motorsport), Tom Walsh (athletics).

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

Anna Grimaldi (Para athletics), Danielle Aitchison (Para athletics), Emma Foy & Hannah van Kampen (Para cycling), Holly Robinson (Para athletics), Lisa Adams (Para athletics), Nicole Murray (Para cycling), Sarah Ellington (Para cycling), Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming), Tupou Neiufi (Para swimming), Will Stedman (Para athletics).

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

Alice Robinson (alpine ski racing), Courtney Duncan (motocross), Ellesse Andrews (cycling – track), Emma Twigg (rowing), Lisa Carrington (canoe racing), Luuka Jones (canoe slalom), Lydia Ko (golf), Mikayla Harvey (cycling – road), Niamh Fisher-Black (cycling – Road), Sarah Hirini (rugby sevens), Ria Percival (football), Dame Valerie Adams (athletics), Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snowboarding).

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

Black Caps (cricket), Black Ferns Sevens (rugby sevens), Emirates Team New Zealand (sailing), Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus (tennis), Men’s Madison – Aaron Gate and Campbell Stewart (cycling – track), Men’s Team Pursuit – Aaron Gate, Campbell Stewart, Corbin Strong, Jordan Kerby, Regan Gough (cycling – track); New Zealand Golf Croquet Team (croquet), New Zealand Long Blacks (long drive), OlyWhites (football), Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (sailing), Rowing Men’s Eight (rowing), Silver Ferns (netball), Women’s K2 500 – Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Regal (canoe racing), Women’s Pair Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast (rowing).

Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year

Aaron McIntosh (windsurfing), Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney (rugby), Craig Palmer (cycling – track), Dale Stevenson (athletics), Danny Hay (football), Gary Hollywood (swimming), Gary Stead (cricket), Gordon Walker (canoe racing), Nathan Luce (canoe racing), Roly Crichton (Para swimming), Sheldon Kemp (Para swimming), Tony O’Connor (rowing).

Sky Sport Emerging Talent

Connor Bell (athletics), Cool Wakushima (snowboarding), Devon Briggs (Para cycling), Erika Fairweather (swimming), George Snook (canoe slalom), Grace Nweke (netball), Luca Harrington (freestyle skiing), Marko Stamenic (football).