Top sports people will more often than not tell you how important their parents have been in their careers.

In the case of Olympic Games cyclist Regan Gough, who won the Hawke's Bay Sportsperson of the Year award, for the second time in five years on Saturday night he will tell you if you look after your parents they will continue to reciprocate. Gough, 22, couldn't attend Saturday night's Forsyth Barr-sponsored function which attracted a crowd of 560 to Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena so his mother Penny accepted the senior and supreme awards on her son's behalf.

She told the crowd how fortunate she was to have her son home in Waipukurau with an injured foot in February.

"I had a bike accident and Regan had to take me to A&E. For once the roles were reversed ... the nurses didn't know who was going to get treatment as we hobbled up to the reception desk together. Lucky for me Regan was home for some time and was my main career," Penny recalled.

Advertisement

Gough is in camp with the New Zealand endurance track team in Cambridge preparing for next month's trip to the United States. Cambridge was the venue for the feat which secured both awards for Gough on Saturday night.

At the January World Cup event in Christchurch Gough was a member of the Kiwi men's team which won gold. Their time of 3m50.159s was at the time .355/100ths of a second from the world record and New Zealand's fastest time.

"It was so close to the world record it took the commentators by surprise. It was one of the highlights of the year and it took the team a couple of days to realise what they achieved," Penny said.

She told the function her son would be stoked to receive the supreme award again.

"Regan is Hawke's Bay proud and a Waipukurau boy through and through."

It was a memorable night for the Gough family as Regan's cousin and fellow Olympian Westley Gough, 31, received the Sportsperson of the Decade award for the 2000-2009 period.

"This is a surprise and an honour. I've been retired from cycling for four years now and receiving this has reminded me of my beginnings in Central Hawke's Bay," Westley said.

"We had no velodrome in Hawke's Bay and I had to regularly travel to the outdoor one in Feilding for training. It was a no frills existence ... we did what we could with the resources we had at the time and it wasn't until 2006 that we got an indoor velodrome in Invercargill.

Advertisement

"In the following years we took New Zealand from being easy beats to consistently one of the best teams in the world regularly going under four minutes," Westley recalled.

In 2008 he was a member of the Kiwi team which won bronze at the Beijing Olympics. In 2006 he won silver in the individual and team pursuits at the world junior championships and in 2005 he was in the New Zealand team which beat Great Britain for gold in the team pursuit at the world junior championships.

Westley was also a member of the Kiwi team which won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics but this feat was outside the judging period for the second Sportsperson of the Decade award at the Sport Hawke's Bay-organised function.

Another Olympian and current Tall Blacks basketball coach Paul Henare, 40, was inducted into the Hawke's Bay Sports Hall of Fame. He couldn't attend the function because he was coaching his Wellington Saints team to a win over the Nelson Giants. However he spoke to the function via a pre-recorded video link.

"I'm honoured to be inducted alongside some of the greats of Hawke's Bay. At the same time it is a little bit embarrassing but my long journey continues through my coaching career," Henare said.

He paid tribute to the sacrifices family and friends have made for him over the years.

"All their hard work has enabled me to travel around the world and have some fun times with the Tall Blacks. Now I just try and be a servant of the game."

The former point guard passed on some valuable advice he received from his former Napier Boys' High School coach Paul Trass.

"It's okay to make a mistake as long as you bust your butt and try and make up for it."

Henare's former Hawks and Tall Blacks teammate Paora Winitana described Henare as "an amazing player, awesome coach, great man, awesome husband and amazing father".

One of Henare's Tall Blacks, current Hawks captain and point guard Jarrod Kenny, won the People's Choice award but couldn't attend the function as he was helping the Hawks beat the Rangers 118-107 in Auckland to secure second place on the points table. Hawks boss Keith Price accepted on Kenny's behalf and told the crowd "Kenny was a great team man for the Hawks and a great team man for Hawke's Bay".

As expected there was plenty of applause when the most popular bloke in Hawke's Bay football, Leon Birnie, received the coach award. He coached the New Zealand under-17 girls team to third place at last year's under-17 world championship in Uruguay.

"This is a really special moment ... humbling," Birnie told the crowd.

"I've worked for Central Football for 13 years. Hopefully I'm around for another 13 years," added Birnie who will coach the New Zealand team again at next year's world championship in India.

Popular Napier Boys' High School 1st XV coach Brendon Ratcliffe accepted the junior team award on behalf of his side which finished second at the National Top Four tournament last year.

"It was one of my most enjoyable years in sport. We almost achieved what many thought was impossible."

Ratcliffe pointed out the most rewarding part of his job was watching his players become better men off the field. He told the function how his team visited a township in South Africa last year and when one of his 15-year-old players realised how poor the people were he wanted to return again this year with some of his spare clothes for them.

"All 31 of our players who travelled to South Africa this year took a bag of their spare clothes to give to the people of that township," Ratcliffe recalled.