It's only August, but deciding a men's Halberg award winner from this year's sporting feats already presents an irresistible debate.

As performances stand, four candidates loom into the reckoning*. Each has a compelling reason which could get them the nod. What's more, each success has come in a relatively global competition.

Comparing such achievements is next-to-impossible, but the onus must go on celebrating rather than denigrating why each deserves a shot at the gong. The candidates are (pause for effect as I open the figurative envelope):

1. Shot putter Tom Walsh became the first Kiwi male to win an outdoor world track and field championship title with his throw of 22.03m in London this week. Walsh's effort was the third-equal longest winning throw in the event's 34-year history, behind Swiss Werner Gunthor's 1987 record of 22.23m and American Reese Hoffa's 22.04m in 2007.


2. Equestrian rider Andrew Nicholson broke his neck in August 2015 but returned to triumph as the Badminton horse trials' oldest winner, at 55 years, nine months and six days. He took over the mantle from Sir Mark Todd. Nicholson's win came 33 years and 37 completions after his maiden attempt. His 17-year-old gelding, Nere matched his rider as the oldest horse to win the title.

3. At the French Open, Michael Venus " alongside American partner Ryan Harrison - became the country's first grand slam men's tennis doubles champion since Onny Parun in 1974, also at Roland Garros. Venus' feat was remarkable considering his upbringing in New Zealand where clay courts are so rare. He is the fifth Kiwi to complete the feat after Anthony Wilding, Harry Parker, Parun and Judy Chaloner.

4. In May, George Bennett's Tour of California victory created New Zealand road cycling history. He became the first Kiwi rider to win a World Tour title since the system's 2009 introduction by the sport's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale. His success for his LottoNL-Jumbo team extended into the Tour de France's general classification, where he finished 16th.

Consideration might be given to Peter Burling as Emirates Team New Zealand's helmsman. The America's Cup winners represent the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, so qualify as a New Zealand entity under Halberg rules. However, Burling's performance came in a team effort so should be categorised accordingly.

Regardless, the Halberg voting panel face a judging feast, especially if further candidates emerge.

*A disclaimer in case this writer fails to identify any other dead-cert contenders, despite racking his brain.