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Two notable athletes could not be separated for the main prize at the 2008 Auckland Sporting Excellence awards held at Alexandra Park last night.
Rower Mahe Drysdale and tennis player Marina Erakovic were deemed to be of equal merit for the top award and shared top prize of dual Auckland Sporting Excellence award winners.
Drysdale the Olympic single sculls bronze medalist won the Sportsman of the Year category after what can only be described as a dramatic finals race in Beijing. Drysdale was voted the winner ahead of Ironman Cameron Brown and All Black loose forward Jerome Kaino.
While Erakovic, 20 improved her WTA world tennis ranking by over 100 places and had top results in the sport around the world including reaching the semifinals of the ASB Classic won the Sportswoman of the Year category ahead of Ironwoman Jo Lawn, Angela McMillan from aerobics and Louise Crome from Squash.
Other category winners were Olympic swimmer Orinoco Faamausili-Banse in the Junior Sportsman of the Year. He was in the 4x100m freestyle relay which smashed the New Zealand record by two seconds in Beijing. Soccer’s Betsy Hassett won the Junior woman award after being selected for the New Zealand senior side while still 17-years-old and also proving to be an essential member of the under20 world cup team as well. Both Hassett and Faamausili-Banse put in outstanding performances and showed maturity beyond their years.
New Zealand badminton player and Beijing Olympian Renee Flavell took away the Maori Achievement award while Donny Hale from Auckland softball and the Ramblers club was the Coach of the Year.
The referee/official was awarded to Gymsports Stephen Kendall who is a highly regarded judge around the world while team win went to the Auckland women’s Football team which dominated its competition with the youngest team in over three decades.
Category winners were given $1000 and the overall Sportsperson another $1000. The awarding of prizemoney at a sports award is believed to be a first for any Regional Sports Trust.
Award finalists are below:
Sportsground.co.nz Sportsman of the Year
Cameron Brown Ironman
Mahe Drysdale Rowing
Jerome Kaino Rugby
Winner: Mahe Drysdale Rowing
Asics Sportswoman of the Year
Marina Erakovic Tennis
Jo Lawn Ironman
Angela McMillan Aerobics
Louise Crome Squash
Winner: Marina Erakovic Tennis
Sport Auckland Junior Sportsman of the Year
Greg Morgan Cricket
Orinoco Faamausili-Banse Swimming
Peter Saili Rugby
Winner: Orinoco Faamausili-Banse Swimming
91.8 MoreFM Junior Sportswoman of the Year
Charlotte Bass Aerobics
Betsy Hassett Soccer
Katie Glynn Hockey
Winner: Betsy Hassett Soccer
South Auckland Motors Team of the Year
Auckland Inter-Provincial Rowing Team
Auckland Rugby Sevens
Auckland Football National Women’s League Squad
Winner: Auckland Football National Women’s League Squad
Artcom Design & Print Referee of the Year
Jonathon White Rugby
Matthew Stanish Rugby
Stephen Kendall Gymsports
Winner: Stephen Kendall Gymsports
NZ Community Trust Coach of the Year
Donny Hale Softball
Nigel Hirst Rugby
Keith Hibberd Rowing
Winner: Donny Hale Softball
He Oranga Poutama Maori Achievement Award
Daniel Braid Rugby
Renee Flavell Badminton
Te Reo Powhiri Matautia Softball
Winner: Renee Flavell Badminton
SPARC Masters Award
North Shore Thistles Ladies Curling Team Curling
Sport Auckland Volunteer Awards: Badminton – Daniel Lee, Cricket – Mark Robson, Football – Ken Sargent, Gymsports – Angie Dougal, Hockey – Graeme Brownsey, Netball – Rebecca Siebert, Rugby – Charlie Klink, Tennis – Donald Sim, Curling – Ian Ford.