Battle for Bay sports award

Five Bay of Plenty-raised sportsmen will battle it out for international athlete of the year, a new category introduced into this year's regional sports awards.

Europe-based Richie Stanaway (motorsport), Julian Dean (cycling), Mahe Drysdale (rowing), rugby league half Benji Marshall and US-based golfer Danny Lee will fight out the international award, although there's no room for Commonwealth Games silver medal-winning decathlete Brent Newdick in the lineup.

Outstanding performances by Bay of Plenty sportsmen and women at world championship level and the Commonwealth Games have been reflected in the finalists selected for the leading regional awards.

The judging panel have sorted through almost 150 nominations for the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic-sponsored awards ahead of the gala evening to be held at the TECT Arena at Baypark on November 18.

"The calibre of nominations and the variety of sports never fails to amaze and it is fantastic what Bay of Plenty athletes, coaches, officials and administrators are achieving on the world stage," Sport Bay of Plenty chief executive Wayne Werder said.

In contention for the sportsman of the year are Black Caps batsman Kane Williamson, kayakers Sam Sutton and Mike Dawson and Steamers rugby flanker Luke Braid, with world No4 kiteboarder Marc Jacobs, Commonwealth Games shooting gold medallist Mike Collings and Delhi hockey medallist Andy Hayward notable omissions.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Gemma Flynn (hockey), Luuka Jones (canoe slalom), mountainbiker Katie O'Neil, flatwater kayaker Lisa Carrington and BMX rider Sarah Walker are the sportswomen finalists.

Also presented on the night are the Bay of Plenty secondary schools sports awards.

Open Award finalists:

Eastpack International Athlete of the year (new category):

Richie Stanaway, motorsport, Julian Dean, cycling, Mahe Drysdale, rowing, Benji Marshall, rugby league, Danny Lee, golf.

Bayleys Bay of Plenty sportsman of the year:

Luke Braid, rugby, Michael Dawson, canoe slalom/extreme kayaking, Kane Williamson, cricket, Sam Sutton, extreme kayaking.

King St Bay of Plenty sportswoman of the year:

Katie O'Neill, XC mountain biking, Lisa Carrington, kayaking, Gemma Flynn, hockey, Sarah Walker, BMX, Luuka Jones, canoe slalom.

BayTrust coach of the year:

Rob Francis, rowing, Evan McRae, XC mounting biking, Gordon Tietjens, rugby sevens, Duncan by de Ley, rowing, Dominic Sainsbury, golf.

CNS Clinic team of the year:

Bayleys Otumoetai premier women's hockey, Cox Motorsport, Bay of Plenty Gold netball, Kirk Pitman and Jason Lochhead (beach volleyball).

Junior sportsman of the year:

Sam Cane, rugby, Carl Axtens, rugby, Landyn Edwards, golf, Oliver Shaw, Xterra/mountain biking, Peter Burling, sailing, Sam Meech, sailing.

Eves Realty Junior sportswoman of the year:

Julia Edward, rowing, Zoe Stevenson, rowing, Kara Timmer, taekwon-do, Angela Simpson, orienteering, Chantelle Cassidy, golf, Molly Meech, sailing.

Canon official of the year:

Kelly Hudson, hockey, Bryce Lawrence, rugby, Nick Briant, rugby, Jeremy Christmas, mountain biking.

Delta Corporation club of the year:

Otumoetai football, Rotorua rowing, Te Puke Sports & Recreation club, Tauranga Whalers.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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