Nominations for the 2018 Bay of Plenty Sports Awards are now open, with this year marking 50 years since the awards begun.
The prestigious awards have a long-held tradition of honouring all aspects of sport, and include award categories for clubs and teams, administrators, young people, coaches and officials as well as individual athletes at the top of their game nationally and internationally.
First held in 1969, the awards' inaugural winner was Una Wickham, a talented Tauranga woman who represented New Zealand in cricket and golf in the 1950s and 60s.
Other Supreme Winners of the Bay of Plenty Sports Awards include rugby player and coach Gordon Tietjens from Rotorua, swimmer and diver Moss Burmester and, more recently, Peter Burling and Lisa Carrington.
Sport Bay of Plenty sport manager Nick Chambers said the number of locals who were national household names and had been honoured with a Supreme Award was testament to the strength and maturity of the region's sporting systems.
"What's unique about the awards though, is that they're not just for high-performance. The sports awards are a great opportunity for our community to celebrate the achievements of a range of people involved in sport throughout the Bay of Plenty," Chambers said.
"Nominations for the 2018 awards are now open, and we encourage locals to nominate a volunteer, coach, club or athlete from throughout the Bay of Plenty region and recognise their contribution and achievements in sport over the past year," he said.
A panel of judges will then select finalists and winners will be announced at the Sports Awards Gala Dinner at ASB Arena on November 16.
Nominations for the 2018 Bay of Plenty Sports Awards close on October 5. Tickets for the gala dinner will go on sale on October 16. Go to sportbop.co.nz/sportsawards to nominate someone today.
Nominees for all categories, except International Sportsperson of the Year, must be members of a club, school, or sporting organisation in the region bounded by Sport Bay of Plenty's coverage area and endorsed by the appropriate regional or national sport organisation.
If a club, school, or sporting organisation for a particular sporting code does not exist within the boundaries of the area, then the nominee must reside within the boundaries.
All school nominations must be endorsed by the principal of the nominee's school.