Accomplishments set to be celebrated

By Jared Smith

It is a touch much to ask your national champions to stack their accomplishments up against those with Olympic glory, so Sport Wanganui hasn't.

Tonight's 2012 Property Brokers/Rivercity Livestock Ltd Wanganui Sports Awards will celebrate the truly diverse mix of sporting accomplishments in 2012 after some fine tweaking of the different categories to reflect the varying degrees of success.

Therefore, the junior and senior sportsperson nominations have been diversified into the national and international level.

Sport Wanganui CEO Danny Jonas said they had followed recommendations following the 2011 edition by advising nominee applications be "pitched" on their highest level of participation.

For example, in this Olympic year those athletes will be judged on their efforts while wearing the Silver Fern, instead of that achievement plus any New Zealand titles won.

It will also allow those for smaller, less high-profile sports to be considered fairly on their merits of success within this country. "[The idea] came from the judging panel," said Jonas.

"Last year there were some outstanding national performances that unfortunately weren't going to get the gong."

Overall Jonas is pleased with 70 nominations across 29 individual sports, although he admits Sport Wanganui can only chase so hard to get the spread.

"I still think there's some codes that unfortunately don't get around to nominations."

Last year's supreme winner and open coxless pair Olympic bronze medal Rebecca Scown cannot attend the ceremony as she is in India for another week. She still finds herself in good company chasing the international senior sportsperson of the year fellow Olympians like coxless four rower Chris Harris and 1500m runner Lucy Van Dalen.

Commonwealth powerlifting championship silver medallist Sharnell Duncan completes the field.

In the national category, Wanganui rugby standout Jon Smyth will contest the award with champion jockey Lisa Allpress.

As expected, the wealth of junior talent in this region has been recognised with 13 athletes contesting the international prize and 15 more chasing the national award.

The independent judging panel who had to make the tough decisions was chairwoman Philippa Baker-Hogan, Grant McKinnon, David Ogilvie and Keith Smith. The guest speaker tonight is Shaun Quincey.

The awards begin tonight at 5.30pm at the Wanganui Racecourse.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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