New Zealand snow-boarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has been awarded New Zealand’s top sporting honour for 2022 as the 60th ISPS Handa Halberg Award winner, announced tonight at Spark Arena in Auckland.

The 21-year-old Sadowski-Synnott became the first New Zealander to win a Winter Olympics gold medal, when she won the Slopestyle competition at the Beijing Olympics.

The Wanaka-based athlete went on to win a second medal, claiming silver in the Big Air competition in Beijing.

Sadowski-Synnott, who was unable to be present as she is currently competing overseas, had earlier claimed the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year honour ahead of former Supreme Halberg Award winners Lydia Ko and Dame Lisa Carrington, World Rugby Player of the Year Ruahei Demant and triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ellesse Andrews.

The Supreme Halberg Award was presented by the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Hon. Grant Robertson and Paralympian #96 and ICP Vice President, Duane Kale.

The event was both a significant milestone of achievement and one of reflection and remembrance as the first Awards event since the passing of Sir Murray Halberg. Sir Murray re-established the Awards in 1963 to honour and celebrate sporting excellence, and as a major fundraiser for the Halberg Foundation which he founded to enhance the lives of physically disabled young New Zealanders by participating in sport and recreation.

There were several moving tributes and reflections on the life and achievements of Sir Murray during the event.

There were seven other awards announced during the live ceremony to honour and celebrate New Zealand sporting excellence in 2022.

The remarkable feats of New Zealand Winter Olympians included awarding the ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year to Nico Porteous, who became the first New Zealand male to win a Winter Olympic gold medal when he prevailed in the Freeski Halfpipe at Beijing.

He claimed the honour ahead of fellow finalist’s cyclist Aaron Gate, motor race driver Shane van Gisbergen, world No. 1 squash player Paul Coll and trampoline world champion Dylan Schmidt.

The Black Ferns won the ISPS Handa Team of the Year for their remarkable victory in the 2022 Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Other finalists comprised rowers Kerri Williams and Grace Prendergast; squash Commonwealth Games winners Joelle King & Paul Coll and King with Amanda Landers-Murphy; and the New Zealand Eventing Team.

Corey Peters was named ISPA Handa Para Athlete/Para Team of the year after double paralympic medals ahead of Para cyclist Nicole Murray; swimmers Dame Sophie Pascoe and Cameron Leslie and skier Adam Hall.

The Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year award went to Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith. He led the team to the Women’s Rugby World Cup triumph and was named ahead of former winner Gordon Walker (canoe racing), Craig Palmer (track cycling), Tommy Pyatt (snow sport) and Sean Thompson (snow sport).

Skier Gustav Legnavsky was awarded the Sky Sport Emerging Talent honour. He won the gold medal in the freeski halfpipe at the Junior World Championships to edge out other finalists Jenna Hastings (mountain bike junior world champion), Tara Vaughan (canoe racing), Cameron Gray (swimming), Josh Willmer (Para Swimming).

New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment of 2022, the only award voted on solely by the New Zealand public, was awarded to the Black Ferns – and winning the final lineout of the game against the throw, 5 metres from their tryline, winning the World Cup.

Black Ferns Sevens Captain, Sarah Hirini was Awarded Sport New Zealand Leadership Award.

In a moving tribute to Sir Murray, it was reflected that the most important legacy that could be bestowed on the late Sir Murray, would be for the Halberg Foundation to not only survive but thrive to honour his remarkable contribution of 60 years and to continue this significant work.

The Halberg Foundation has a team of Advisers around the country who connect physically disabled young people to sport and creation opportunities. They also deliver an inclusion-training course on adapting physical activity and assist clubs, schools and organisers to provide inclusive events and programmes. This is highlighted by the annual Halberg Games which is a three-day national sporting competition for physical disabled young people.

The 60th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards full list of winners and finalists:

ISPS Halberg Award (supreme) winner: Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snow sport)

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year winner: Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snow sport).

Finalists: Ellesse Andrews (cycling – track), Dame Lisa Carrington (sprint kayak), Lydia Ko (golf), Ruahei Demant (rugby)

ISPS Handa Team of the Year winner: Black Ferns (rugby)

Finalists: Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy (squash – women’s doubles), Joelle King and Paul Coll (squash – mixed doubles), Kerri Williams and Grace Prendergast (rowing – pair), New Zealand Eventing Team (equestrian).

ISPS Handa Sportsman on the Year: winner Nico Porteous (Snow sport)

Finalists: Aaron Gate (cycling – track), Dylan Schmidt (gymnastics – trampoline), Paul Coll (squash), Shane van Gisbergen (motorsport.

ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Para team of the Year winner: Corey Peters (Para skiing)

Finalists: Adam Hall (Para skiing), Cameron Leslie (Para swimming), Nicole Murray (Para cycling), Dame Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming).

Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year winner: Wayne Smith (rugby)

Finalists: Craig Palmer (track cycling), Gordon Walker (sprint kayak), Sean Thompson (Skiing – snowboarding), Tommy Pyatt (Skiing – freeskiing),

Sky Sport Emerging Talent winner: Gustav Legnavsky (snow sport)

Finalists: Cameron Gray (swimming), Jenna Hastings (downhill mountain bike), Joshua Willmer (swimming), Tara Vaughan (sprint kayak).

New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment: Black Ferns win the final lineout of the game against the throw, 5 metres from their tryline, winning the World Cup. (rugby)