Ko, Adams in tight Halbergs race

Nominees for top sports awards include All Blacks, rowers, swimmers and Scott Dixon, IndyCar winner.

Lydia Ko is a finalist for Sportswoman of the Year. Photo / Getty Images
Lydia Ko is a finalist for Sportswoman of the Year. Photo / Getty Images

Sportswoman of the Year looks to be a tightly-fought race after the announcement of the finalists in this year's Halberg Awards.

Numerous successes on the world stage sees the finalists coming from 16 different sports codes including; swimming, cycling, para shooting, equestrian, motorsport, blind bowling and softball.

A voting academy consisting of 30 former athletes, coaches and media representatives selected the finalists from a list of 58 nominations with the winners to be announced at a ceremony at Auckland's Vector Arena in February.

World No 4-ranked golfer Lydia Ko is among the Sportswoman of the Year Award finalists and is joined by world champion canoeist Lisa Carrington, swimmer Lauren Boyle who won three bronze medals at the world championships, and shot put world champion Valerie Adams, who finished undefeated in 2013.

Para swimming champions Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher, who each won five gold medals at the IPC world championships, are finalists in the Halberg Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award category.

They are joined by blind bowling world champion David Monk and para shooting world record holder Mike Johnson in contention for the award.

IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and IRB Player of the Year, All Black Kieran Read, have been shortlisted for the Sportsman of the Year category along with world No 1 eventing champion Andrew Nicholson and track cycling world champion Aaron Gate.

The world champion Black Sox and the undefeated All Blacks are up for the Team of the Year category along with two world champion yachting crews: women's 470 (Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie) and the Men's 49er class team (Peter Burling and Blair Tuke). World rowing champion men's pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray are again in line for the award they won in 2012.

The winners of the Sportsman, Sportswoman, Disabled Sportsperson and Team of the Year Award categories will again be eligible for the Halberg Award. Bond and Murray will be vying to take home the supreme award for a second year running.

Nathan Handley, who coached the women's 470 and women's 49er FX teams to world championship wins, is up for Coach of the Year with Eddie Kohlhase (Black Sox), Steve Hansen (All Blacks) and Guy Wilson (Ko).

The Emerging Talent award finalists are surfer Ella Williams, rower Tom Murray, motorcyclist Jake Lewis and swimmer Gabrielle Fa'amausili.

Other award categories that will be presented in February include: Favourite Sporting Moment (finalists announced in mid-January) the Sport New Zealand Leadership Award and inductees into the Sports Hall of Fame.

Finalists

Sportsman of the Year: Aaron Gate (cycling), Andrew Nicholson (equestrian), Kieran Read (rugby), Scott Dixon (motorsport).

Sportswoman of the Year: Lauren Boyle (swimming), Lisa Carrington (canoeing), Lydia Ko (golf), Valerie Adams (athletics).

Disabled Sportsperson of the Year: David Monk (blind bowling), Mary Fisher (para swimming), Mike Johnson (para shooting), Sophie Pascoe (para swimming).

Team of the Year: All Blacks (rugby), Black Sox (softball), men's pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (rowing), women's 470 - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (yachting), men's 49er class team - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (yachting).

Coach of the Year: Eddie Kohlhase (softball), Guy Wilson (golf), Nathan Handley (yachting), Steve Hansen (rugby).

Emerging Talent: Ella Williams (surfing), Gabrielle Fa'amausili (swimming), Jake Lewis (motorcycling), Tom Murray (rowing).

- APNZ

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