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Olympic great for Sports Awards

Mahe Drysdale on his way to winning gold at Rio in 2016. PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES


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Mahe Drysdale needs no introduction.

From being carried out of his skiff and being violently ill after finishing third in the 2008 Beijing singles scull to winning in a nail-biting photo finish victory at Rio in 2016, Drysdale’s story is one of guts and sheer determination.

His never-say-die attitude is evident that it was only last month that the 42-year-old called time on his glittering career.

The winner of two Olympic gold medals, five world championships, and five Halberg Sportsman of the Year Awards, as well as the 2006 Supreme Award, will be the guest speaker at the 2019-20 Wairarapa Times-Age Sports Awards ceremony.

Drysdale will be just one of the highlights of a bumper night to celebrate two years of sporting achievements after the 2020 awards were canned because of covid-19.

Nominations were high in most of the 18 categories, with more than 30 received in the Youth Sports Personality category.

2019 Supreme Award winner, Black Stick Dane Lett again makes the cut in the Senior Sports Personality along with NZ Heartland XV representative James Goodger, national Under-20 3000m champion Liam Lamb, and Wairarapa Cricket’s record-breaking bowler Stefan Hook.

The finalists in a highly competitive Team of the Year are the two-time Wellington premier men’s hockey champions Dalefield, the 2020 Wellington premier women’s hockey champions Dalefield, the two-time Duncan Cup Wellington interclub golf champions Masterton, and the bronze-medal winning Wairarapa men’s bowls teams at the national intercentre championships.

Lett was also chosen as a finalist in the Coach of the Year, along with Wairarapa-Bush rugby coach Joe Harwood, athletics coach Mark Harris, and successful Dalefield women’s hockey coach Michael O’Connor.

The Official of the Year finalists are rugby referees Alistair Payne and Rebecca Mahoney, athletics’ judge Harris, and Wairarapa’s leading hockey umpire Peter Sigvertsen.

The full list of finalists for all categories can be found in Saturday’s Times-Age.

A significant number of nominations related to achievements after the cut-off of March 31, 2021, were not considered for final selection.

Voting for all categories is now open and closes on Friday, August 13.

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