Upper Hutt swimmers provide special moment at Hutt Valley Sports Awards
Two Upper Hutt swimmers provided a lovely moment at the Hutt Valley Sports Awards.
Rio Paralympic gold medallist Mary Fisher won the Sportswoman of the Year and the Disabled Athlete of the Year categories on Thursday night.
Fisher, who is partially sighted, was escorted to the podium by 15-year-old Chelsey Edwards who hopes to qualify for the Commonwealth Games.
The top prize went to Olympic bronze 1500-metre medallist Nick Willis, who took out the Sportsman of the Year and the Supreme Award, and was represented by his dad Richard Willis.
Willis told the audience of just under 1000 that he had spoken to Nick earlier that day. He is currently training in America, but said that there is no better place to train than the Hutt Valley.
Upper and Lower Hutt merged in 2016 to create the Hutt Valley awards. Any thought that Upper Hutt could miss out to athletes from Lower Hutt was dispelled this year.
Fisher, who must have pushed Willis for the overall winner, was joined by Edwards who is one of New Zealand's most promising swimmers as a category winner.
Upper Hutt footballer Emma Main was also a finalist in the Young Sportswoman of the Year.
Saints Basketball general manager and Maidstone United netball co-coach Fran Scholey was the Administrator of the Year.
Scholey is one of the few females heading a sporting franchise in New Zealand.
The organisers honoured Sir Ron Scott with a special tribute by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
Scott died in an Upper Hutt rest-home last year but was remembered as one of the countries greatest administrators.
Hansen said the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games has a special place in his memory.
Christchurch remains the only Games to have made a profit.
"Despite living in Upper Hutt, he remained a one-eyed Cantabrian and staunch supporter of the Crusaders. He was a proud patriotic New Zealander who achieved a great deal in his time."
Former All Black captain Andy Leslie was inducted as a Legend.
Hansen said a number of factors made Leslie's career special.
He was picked as captain despite having never played for the All Blacks.
As well as rugby he played softball for New Zealand at the 1966 World Series, represented his country in waterpolo and was a top basketballer.
"He was a star athlete with many options to choose from and thankfully for the national game, he chose rugby."
Hutt Valley Sports Awards winners:
* Sportswoman: Mary Fisher.
* Sportsman: Nick Willis.
* Team: Eastbourne Bowling Club men's interclub team.
* Coach: Shaka Sola.
* Administrator/ Volunteer: Fran Scholey.
* Young Sportsman: Ethan Moore.
* Young Sportswoman: Chelsey Edwards.
* Young Volunteer: Rory Woollett.
* Disabled/Special: Mary Fisher.
* Official:Kathy Cross.