Waikato’s most successful athletes were formally recognised at the recent Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards, with Stacey Waaka and Joelle King scooping two of the major titles.
The annual event is a rare occasion to see notoriously hard working athletes out of their training gear and in formal dress. It also provides an invaluable opportunity to celebrate their hard work and achievements.
The prestigious 2018 Brian Perry Regional Sports Awards showcases and celebrates sporting achievement from local grassroots clubs through to high performance level. Held this year at the Claudelands Conference & Exhibition Centre, a total of 78 individuals, teams, clubs and events from around the region were selected as finalists, from more than 600 nominations received.
Proving impossible to separate, two popular Commonwealth Games gold medallists; squash player Joelle King and rugby player Stacey Waaka, jointly took out both the Sportswoman of the Year title, and the top honour of Supreme Award for Sporting Excellence.
Joelle claimed gold medals in both the singles and doubles at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and Stacey was part of the Black Ferns Rugby Sevens team that won gold at the Games and a world title at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July last year.
Other winners from the night included cyclist Sam Gaze who won Sportsman of the Year, Real Health NZ picking up the Innovation in Sport & Recreation award for their health and fitness online community initiative, rugby player Quinn Tupaea winning the Emerging Talent award, Taupo Phoenix Rugby League Club’s Stephanie Ngamotu-Tahana picking up the award for Administrator of the Year, and blind triathlete Shannon Cleave winning the new Disability Award.
As always, the judges’ decisions were made extremely difficult by the high calibre of nominations submitted. Sport Waikato chief executive Matthew Cooper commented on the outstanding talent throughout the Waikato region.
“The performances of our sportspeople and supporters from across the Waikato region have just been outstanding, and we commend them on the hard work and sacrifices they make every day – to be a finalist at these awards is a major achievement.”
“Congratulations to all finalists and our winners.”