Local community volunteers and international sport stars are among the near 80 finalists of the 2018 Bay of Plenty Sports Awards hosted by Sport Bay of Plenty.
Celebrating 50 years, the Bay of Plenty Sports Awards has a long and prestigious history in the region, and recognises all aspects of sport from local clubs and volunteers right through to individual athletes at the top of their sporting careers.
More than 120 nominations were received for 18 award categories, which include the top honours of Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year.
Among the individual finalists for 2018 are Commonwealth Games gold medallists Michaela Blyde and Scott Curry from rugby sevens, Black Sticks gold medallist Samantha Charlton, three times Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington, triathlete Sam Osborne and cricketer Kane Williamson.
Teams include brothers Sam and Ben O’Dea who took home bronze in beach volleyball at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, New Zealand surf lifesaving champions the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard
Service Open Men’s surf team and secondary school teams forvolleyball, football, motocross and underwater hockey.
In the categories of Official and Coach of the Year, finalists include Kelly Hudson (hockey), Greg Rieger (surf lifesaving) and Glen Jackson (rugby), and coaches Allan Bunting (rugby sevens), and Chris Willett (triathlon).
Finalists and winners for the Service to Sport and Secondary School Service to Sportawards, which recognise individuals for their significant contribution to sport or school sport, will be announced on the night.
Sport Bay of Plenty sport manager Nick Chambers says the calibre of this year’s nominations made it difficult for the judges to chooses finalists.
“The Bay of Plenty has a great tradition of sporting excellence, and year on year that’s reflected in the Sports Awards nominations. This year is no exception.
“Fifty years on from the first Sports Awards in 1969 there’s still a depth of talent coming out of our region, from athletes competing on the world stage, to avid supporters working behind the scenes to help their local club.”
Chambers also noted nominations came in from across the region, and for a range of sports including rugby, basketball, synchronised swimming, surf lifesaving and hockey.
“The awards are a celebration of all people involved in sport, and recognise the wide-variety of sporting codes throughout the Bay of Plenty.
“On behalf of Sport Bay of Plenty, thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a nomination, and congratulations to all nominees and finalists.”
The 50th Bay of Plenty Sports Awards will be held on Friday 16 November at ASB Arena in Tauranga.
Tickets are on sale at www.sportbop.co.nz