Ryan Chisnall is nominated for Sportsman of the Year at the Nelson Sports Awards. Photo: Jacob Page

Nelson Sports Awards turns 50

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The 50th edition of the Nelson Sports Awards will be a blast from the past with 29 previous winners of the supreme award attending the ceremony to celebrate the milestone at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson on November 25.

Golfer Nicki Campbell was the first winner of the award back in 1959 receiving it for winning the national women’s title.

A long and illustrious list of athletes followed, including many Olympic and world champions with the only interruption being a break when the awards “lost momentum and fizzled out” from 1980 to 1988.

Tony Thomas of Sport Tasman says the awards were resurrected by Sport Nelson (now Sport Tasman) in 1989 when the winner was sailor Rex Sellers.

Rex received the award for winning a silver medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 after earlier winning a gold at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

“I’m pleased they were revived because it’s a highlight of the Nelson sports calendar and a great vehicle for us to celebrate sporting achievement and life-long sporting achievement to sport,” Tony says.

There were 93 nominations from 38 sports which are judged across nine categories. The Sports Person of the Year is selected from the category winners.

Guest speaker is Olympic world champion shot putter Tom Walsh.

The categories and nominees are – Sportsman of the Year: Ryan Chisnall (Golf), Nathan Fa’avae (Adventure Racing), Kane Hames, Liam Squire, David Havili (Rugby), Greg Hay (Cricket), Alex Hunt (Tennis), Craig Lautenslager (Athletics), Shannon McIlroy (Lawn Bowls), Brook Robertson (Rowing).

Sportswoman of the Year: Jess Drummond (Rugby), Jo Edwards (Bowls), Louise Kelly (Judo), Zoe McBride (Rowing), Rachel McLaren (Smallbore Shooting), Jessica Sturrock (Underwater Hockey).

Sports Team of the Year: Tasman Makos.

Junior Sportsman of the Year: Ben Anderson (Touch), Luke Brady (Rowing), Bailey Cotton, Jared Lautenslager, Kalani Sheridan (Athletics), Maxwell Darling, Tyler Marsh (Basketball), Caleb Delany (Softball and Basketball), Leicester Faingaanuku, Lotima Faingaanuku (Rugby), Finn Fisher-Black (Cycling), Sam Hopgood, Tom Marris-Craddock (Underwater Hockey), Cameron Jones (Mountainbiking), Bendi Kepess, Matai McGuinniety, Sam McKenzie (Swimming), Tane MacDonald (Volleyball), Theo Smith (Adventure Racing) Devon Stove (Inline Hockey).

Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Bridie Edwards, Amanda Fitisemanu, Samantha Hardie (Athletics), Clara Foster, Talya Harwood, Sierra Thomas (Swimming), Shaane Fulton (Track Cycling), Jessica Kelly (Hockey), Mitsuko Nam (Artistic Roller Skating), Risaleanna Pouri-Lane (Rugby), Ellie Ross (Golf Croquet), Sophie Smith (Mountain Running), Tessa Timms (Underwater Hockey).

Junior Sports Team of the Year: Athletics Nelson, Motueka High Girls Sevens, Nelson College for Girls Underwater Hockey, Nelson College Senior Boys Underwater Hockey, Nelson Heat Under-13 Baseball, Nelson Royals 14th Grade Rep Football, Spilt Milk Hip Hop Dance Crew, Tasman Under-19 Rugby, Te Totara Under-19 Boys Volleyball, Waimea College Swim Team, Women’s Under-19 Double Sculls.

Masters Sports Person or Team of the Year: Paula Canning, Joeline Jones, Kirsty Richmond, Kerry Semmens (Athletics), Lynley Coventry, Bill Coventry (Rowing), Garth Jemeson, Sarah Stack (Inline Speed Skating), Wayne Leighton, Pogo McAuley (Triathlon), Martin Lubransky (Badminton), Lindsay McGavin (Powerlifting), Christine van Hoppe (Cycling), Brett Butcher, New Zealand Men’s 50 Hockey, Athletics Nelson Open 60 Road Relay Team.

Coach of the Year: Keiko Bamba (Artistic Roller Skating), Ashley Belk (Hip Hop), Alex Coombs-King, Warwick King (Underwater Hockey), Marty Grant (baseball), Mark Johnston (Football), Greg Lautenslager (Athletics), Leon MacDonald (Rugby).
Lifetime Contribution to Sport: Anna Bartlett (Inline Speed Skating), Manly Bowater (Croquet), Jannie Pope (Motorsport), Jock Sutherland (Cricket), Brett Thornalley (Rugby), Brian Wislang (Croquet).