Cheree Kinnear looks at 10 athletes under the age of 21 to watch out for in 2021.
Ski racing, 19 years old
Following a standout 2019-20 season, having won two of the six World Cup Giant Slalom races after claiming gold at the world junior championships in Italy, ski racer Alice Robinson is adding the entire World Cup Super G race programme to her schedule this season.
The 19-year-old has also put on a pair of downhill skis for the first time and she may line up in one or two World Cup Downhill races with a view to competing in three disciplines at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Athletics, 19 years old
Sprint sensation Eddie Osei-Nketia took over headlines in 2019 after he chose to represent New Zealand over Australia even though his family has lived in Canberra since 2011.
Ranked inside the world's top 54, Osei-Nketia is aiming for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics. He has a best 100m time of 10.19s, with the qualifying mark being 10.05s.
"Fast Eddie" also has aspirations to be an All Black, and has gained attention in sevens circles.
Netball, 18 years old
Making her ANZ Premiership debut as a full-time player this season, Grace Nweke has made the Northern Mystics goal shoot bib her own.
The 1.93m Nigerian-born shooter earned her first Silver Ferns appearance last season, though not yet in a test match, after getting her fitness up to coach Noeline Taurua's standard. She came off the bench in three of the Ferns' four games.
Nweke has re-signed for the Mystics this season.
Pole vault, 20 years old
2020 was a tough year for athletics amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, but it allowed Kiwi pole vaulter Olivia McTaggart to set herself on track to represent New Zealand at her first Olympic Games in Tokyo.
She first hit the pole vaulting scene in 2015 after a back injury forced her to give up competitive gymnastics. Two years later she broke the New Zealand under-17 record previously held by Eliza McCartney, clearing a height of 4.40m, which placed her third in the world for under-18 athletes.
Football, 20 years old
The young footballer was a standout left back for the Wellington Phoenix last A-League season, helping them achieve their highest regular-season finish.
The three-cap All White scored three goals in 25 appearances and earned himself a spot in the PFA Team of the Season, before jetting to Belgian to play for Pro League club Sint-Truiden.
Rugby league, 20 years old
Whangarei-born-and-raised Paul Turner earned his NRL debut for the Warriors last season and is a good chance to make many more appearances for the club this year.
Despite his lack of game time in 2020, Turner's development was fast-tracked due to the unique environment of being in camp full-time during a Covid-19 restricted season.
Set to serve as a backup player alongside Sean O'Sullivan, Turner will provide cover for Chanel Harris-Tavita and Kodi Nikorima.
Rugby, 19 years old
Young German player Anton Segner has big dreams to make his mark in the New Zealand rugby scene after first moving here as an exchange student in 2017.
Segner captained Nelson College to a UC Championship title in 2019 and earned a two-year-deal with the Tasman Mako. A residency rule denied him the chance to play for the New Zealand U20 side but is on track to become eligible for All Blacks selection in the coming years.
A Super Rugby contract would be the first step in that direction and after being invited to pre-season training with the Crusaders earlier last year, it might come sooner than expected.
Rugby, 20 years old
Tupou Vaa'i earned his first All Blacks call-up in 2020 following a standout Super Rugby season with the Chiefs, completing a rapid rise in a year which started with the Taranaki lock labouring with his father in Auckland.
The 20-year-old made his debut after coming off the bench in the 75th minute in the All Blacks' 16-all draw with the Wallabies, before making his first start a week later when Sam Whitelock was ruled out due to concussion.
Vaa'i was restored to the matchday 23 a fortnight later where he scored his debut test try in the 78th minute.
Football, 18 years old
Recently back in the New Zealand fold after her time in the US was abruptly cut short due to Covid-19, Aniela Jensen is one to watch in the women's football game.
The attacking midfielder earned her first cap for New Zealand at 16 and recently played for Central Football in the ISPS Handa Women's Premiership.
Rugby, 17 years old
Auckland Storm's teen fullback, Patricia Maliepo was a standout during the Farah Palmer Cup last season. It earned her a spot in the New Zealand Barbarians side which played two matches against the Black Ferns.
Set to play another season for Auckland this year, and Black Ferns jerseys still very much up for grabs, Maliepo could be looking at her first international cap in a Women's World Cup year.