Nelson paralympic sprinter Liam Malone (right) will be a hot favourite at the Nelson Sports Awards on Friday night. Photo: Simon Bruty for OIS/IOC. Handout image supplied by OIS/IOC

Nelson’s best sports stars to be honoured at awards night

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Liam Malone’s charismatic shadow will loom large over the Nelson Sports Awards at Annesbrook Church on Friday night.

The 22-year-old paralympic sprinter who won two gold medals and a silver in Rio is the clear standout choice in the Sportsman of the Year category, after captivating the world’s media with his charm and receiving a key to Nelson City last month.

Cycling’s George Bennett appears his biggest threat after a stellar pro year, which included a gritty effort in the Tour de France which won him much praise.

Liam Squire’s All Blacks’ nod and Finn Delany’s emergence within New Zealand basketball will also have them near the top of the contender’s list

Cross country runner Bridie Edwards will be one to watch in the Junior Sports Woman category of the Nelson Sports Awards on friday night. Photo Jacob Page
Cross country runner Bridie Edwards will be one to watch in the Junior Sports Woman category of the Nelson Sports Awards on friday night. Photo Jacob Page

Sportswoman of the Year is far more even with world champion rower Zoe McBride battling Black Sticks’ hockey player Kelsey Smith and Blackjacks’ lawn bowls duo of Kirsten Edwards and Jo Edwards, as some of the main contenders.

Basketball has two nominees in Jessica Bygate and Jodi Hikuroa-Jeffrey.

The Collingwood Senior B rugby team, which won the Senior B competition in a gripping mud-bath of a final, will battle the victorious Richmond Rabbits rugby league team and the Nelson Men’s Over-35 hockey team for Sports Team of the Year.

As always, the Junior Sportsman and Woman of the Year categories are wide open.

Nelson basketballer Max Darling is a contender in the Young Sportsman of the Year category at the Nelson Sports Awards on Friday night. Photo Jacob Page.
Nelson basketballer Max Darling is a contender in the Young Sportsman of the Year category at the Nelson Sports Awards on Friday night. Photo Jacob Page.

Mountainbiking’s Cameron Jones will go up against Central Districts cricketer Josh Clarkson, national age-group basketball star Max Darling and athletics’ Bailey Cotton, to name just some of the 20 nominees for Junior Sportsman of the Year.

In the women’s category, volleyball’s Holly Chandler, cross country runner Bridie Edwards and national age group swimming champion Caitlin Delany, all make a strong case.

Waimea College have four of the seven nominees for Junior Sports Team of the Year.

There are seven nominees in the Masters category.

Three nominations for Coach of the Year including basketball’s Ed Book, motocross rider Josh Coppins and athletics’ Brodie Hewlett.

There are also 10 people up for Lifetime Contributions to Sports Awards on the night.

The guest speaker is track cyclist Eddie Dawkins.