Blind cyclist cleans up awards

BY BEN STRANG
Last updated 16:36 09/05/2011
Parsons
Supreme: Jayne Parsons at home with two of her three sports awards trophies and the medals she won at the World Cup in Australia last week.

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World champion blind cyclist Jayne Parsons is the 2011 Kapiti Sportsperson of the Year.

The Waikanae 49-year-old beat stiff competition to claim the supreme award, after she took out the Sportswoman of the Year and Athlete with a Disability awards on Thursday night at Southwards Theatre.

Husband Brett Parsons accepted the awards on her behalf, since the mother-of-three was competing in Australia.

"It has been a hard graft for her to come this far, so I know she will be over the moon when she finds out," Brent said.

Parsons enjoyed a stunning season, the pinnacle a world title at the 3000-metre tandem pursuit in Italy in March. She also won a bronze medal in the 1000m time trial and a silver in the road race at the world championships in Canada.

Hours before the awards, Parsons added to her medal collection with a silver medal in the road race at the UCI Paracycling World Cup in Sydney.

Completing a stellar week for the cyclist, she and tandem pilot Sonia Waddell won gold in the time trial at the World Cup on Friday.

Speaking to the Kapiti Observer yesterday, Parsons said she was ecstatic on Friday after firstly finding out about her Kapiti Sportsperson of the Year award, and then winning gold hours later.

"I was just overwhelmed, your head gets really dizzy when you think about it all," she said.

"I couldn't have thought of a better person to accept the awards than Brent, with all the help he has given me."

Sportsman of the Year Jack Cotter was one of the few winners who played a team sport, his exploits for the Future All Whites and Lower Hutt getting him the nod.

The 18-year-old was part of a tour to the United States earlier this year with the Future All Whites, and represented New Zealand Secondary Schools last year, playing England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland in a tour of Britain.

He has just been accepted to the Grand Canyon University in Arizona, where he will play football while studying sports science.

In other awards, barefoot water-skiers made a splash with siblings Tyler and Georgia Groen winning the emerging sportsman and sportswoman awards.

Organiser Joe Franklin said it was the first time a brother and sister had been winners in the same ceremony.

Georgia is the New Zealand open women's champion at just 15 and holds five New Zealand records in the sport.

She represented New Zealand at the world championships in Germany last year, winning five medals on her way to a third overall finish in the junior girls' grade.

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Older brother Tyler is heading down a similar path, winning a silver medal in the jump competition in the junior boys' event at the worlds.

All Whites and Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund was guest speaker at the awards evening, giving an insight into his football career.

He told the audience how he had been in the doldrums at times, but said athletes needed to be able to pick themselves up and move on.

The awards continued a domination by women for the major award, with five of six overall winners being women since the awards began.

Other award winners: Ron Valentine, contributor; Michelle Quinn, volunteer; Judy Broughton-Winterburn, coach; Trish McQueen, personality; Paekakariki under-16 girls' surf lifesaving, team; Karen Parker, administrator; John Hook, official.

- Kapiti Observer

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