Kiwis League star, Jerome Ropati, took top honours at the 2008 NZU Blues Awards held at Te Papa on Friday 5th June 2009.
After his success with the team at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, Jerome was a deserved recipient of the NZU Sportsperson of the Year. He balanced his busy sporting life in 2008 with his second year of study towards a Business Diploma at Auckland University of Technology.
While Jerome couldn’t be present at the Awards Ceremony, he passed on to guests his honour in receiving the prestigious award amongst a host of other talented sportspeople, wishing the other recipients and nominees every success for 2009.
Guests at the Awards Ceremony were addressed by athlete manager and adviser, Glenda Hughes, and one of Glenda’s charges, former Silver Fern, Bernice Mene.
While Glenda highlighted her athlete management philosophies and spoke about the importance of managing athletes so they can manage themselves, Bernice relayed memories of her own sporting career and the challenges athletes face around media and sport-life balance.
In between presentations, guests were entertained by local band, Grant Sullivan and the Vaughn Roberts Quartet.
Other award winners included Andrew Imms, receiving a NZU Coach of the Year Award for his contribution to the development and coaching of Fencing, and Cameron Leslie took out the NZU Maori Sportsperson of the Year for his outstanding gold medal winning performance in the pool at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.
The NZU Blues are awarded each year to recognise New Zealand’s top University athletes, honouring their sporting and academic achievements.
Thirty nine Blues, one Distinguished Performance, four Outstanding Achievement and one Coaching Award, were awarded for the 2008 academic year. A number of the recipients have been competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and are now preparing for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.