Tuke joins sport legends


Kerikeri's Blair Tuke was emotional as he reminisced on his achievements after being named Northland Sportsperson of the Year, an accolade which sees him cemented in Northland sporting history.

Tuke's Olympic silver medal - won with Tauranga's Peter Burling - has seen his name placed alongside Northland sporting legends such as Blyth Tait, Justin Collins and Sam Warriner.

"It's been a lot of hard work for me, but Northland sportspeople are awesome and I'm a proud Northlander so to have my name alongside theirs is pretty special. Forever I'll be the 2012 sportsperson of the year so that's pretty awesome," Tuke said.

"We hadn't really looked past August 8 for the past four years and everything we did was toward winning that medal, and to dedicate your life to something like that it's a great reward and to be able to share that with your friends and family is pretty cool."

The 23-year-old's performance in London not only etches his name into Northland's sporting history but also New Zealand's - he won the country's first yachting medal since 1992 and it was also New Zealand's 100th Olympic medal ever.

Tuke said his appearance at Friday's awards was enjoyable because in the past he had been overseas sailing, working towards his goal of medalling at the Olympics.

"Really happy to be here tonight, I've missed out normally at this time of the year after usually being in Sydney or Melbourne racing so it's the first time I've been here for three or four years now," he said.

"It's been an amazing ride and this is just the start really, so watch out there'll be more happening. But for now I'll just enjoy this."

Earlier in the evening, Tuke won the Steinlager Edge Northland Sportsman of the Year award, with the Sportswoman of the Year being awarded to Fiona Southorn, who brought home bronze in the 3000 metre Pursuit from the London Paralympics.

Tuke's celebrations were short lived as he headed to Auckland for the weekend to compete in the Sir Peter Blake Regatta. He and Burling also took one lucky young Optimist green fleet sailor out for a blast in their medal-winning 49er skiff .

- Northland Age

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