Surf life saving champion Natalie Peat will cap off an exciting year when she is honoured at the 2014 Bay of Plenty Sports Awards ceremony next month. The High Performance Academy Sports scholarship student is one of five finalists that have been selected for the Junior Sportswoman of the Year category.
The winner will be announced at a star-studded Sport Bay of Plenty event on 5 December, just five days before another prestigious occasion marked on Natalie’s calendar – the graduation ceremony to mark the completion of her Bay of Plenty Polytechnic business diploma course.
Natalie says she feels honoured to be included in the annual regional sports awards. “There is so much sporting talent in the Bay of Plenty! In my category alone there are world champions, national champions, national representatives and overall truly great sporting talents.”
Natalie’s nomination is well deserved, reflecting her recent efforts in France which helped New Zealand become just the second country ever to successfully defend the Life Saving World Championship title.
She set a new world record as part of the four-woman NZ team who won the 4x50m obstacle relay. The team also won silver in the rescue tube race and bronze in the ocean relay during the five day competition.
The wins followed individual success at the national championships earlier this year when Natalie won the U19 run-swim and the U19 and Open surf race titles, as well as silver and bronze medals in the team events.
Natalie also won the BOP/Coromandel Open and U19 Female Sportsperson of the Year titles and the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club Open and U19 best female awards for the 2013/2014 season.
With her studies drawing to a close in July, Natalie has been enjoying a lighter workload since the world champs as she prepares to continue with more business analysis degree level study next year.
“It's a great time to be able to sit back and reflect on the year that has passed. Quite often during the season, you progress through training blocks and racing week after week and never get a chance to reflect on the results that you have achieved. The annual regional awards are always a proud evening for everyone that attends and they showcase what the Bay of Plenty is capable of.”