Double delight as Tuke takes out top honours

By Cameron Leslie

New Zealand Olympic sailor Blair Tuke continues to ride the wave of success as he received the prestigious Northland Sportsperson of the Year Award at the Konica Minolta Northland Sports Awards held at Whangarei's ASB Stadium last night.

Tuke had earlier in the evening won the Steinlager Edge Northland Sportsman of the Year to pip Paralympic bronze medallist Fiona Southorn, who was named Sportswoman of the Year for her medal in the 3000m Pursuit.

The Kerikeri sailor made his Olympic debut in London, alongside Tauranga's Peter Burling, to bring home a silver medal in the 49er class. This was New Zealand's first yachting medal to be won since 1992 and was also the country's 100th Olympic medal.

Tuke, New Zealand's 49er champ, also won a silver medal at the International Sailing Federation 49er world champs in Perth in December 2011 and silver at the 2012 iteration of the same event this year.

Other winners on the night included Olympic hockey star Stacey Michelson, who was named Northland Junior Sportsperson of the Year after being named World under-21 Player of the Year by the International Hockey Federation in 2011.

Named The Northern Advocate People's Choice Award winner was New Zealand basketball legend Pero Cameron, after Northlanders texted and emailed their pick to the newspaper.

For her 40 years of dedication to bowls through playing, coaching and administrative work, Anne Muir took out the prestigious Brian Maunsell Memorial Service to Sport Award.

A standing ovation greeted the announcement of the 2012 Northland Legend of Sport inductee, Matt Marshall.

His work with the North Auckland Rugby Union as honorary doctor for 34 years was only a small part of his service to sport. He also travelled with numerous Northland and New Zealand sports teams including cricket, football and hockey.

The 2012 event also celebrated the success of our Northland Olympians by presenting the Olympic pins to athletes who competed at the London Games.

New Zealand Olympic Committee representative Ralph Roberts presented the Olympic pins to Northland Olympians or their representatives - as well as a pin to the family of the late Gwitha Shand, an Olympic swimmer who competed at the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

Gwitha's grandsons, Michael and John Woolley, who hail from Woolleys Bay on the Tutukaka Coast, were in attendance to collect Olympic Games pin number 14.

Other Northland Olympians to receive their pins included Blair Tuke, Jenna Hansen (yachting), Alana Millington, Stacey Michelson and Ella Gunson (all hockey).

Paralympians Cameron Leslie (swimming) and Fiona Southorn (bike) were also acknowledged.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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