Skater breaks man drought
A male stood above the rest at the Kapiti Sportspersons of the Year Awards for only the second time in seven years on Thursday night, with Reyon Kay winning the overall title.
The inline speed skater turned ice skater won both sportsman of the year and sportsperson of the year, having enjoyed a successful season which included a silver medal at the five kilometre inline track relay event at the World Speed Skating Championships in Yeosu, South Korea.
Kay is only the second male to win the overall award, following Evelyn Williamson, Audrey Stevenson, Emma Millar, Peter Housiaux, Alma Wallace and Jayne Parsons in the past six years.
"It was a pretty good night," Kay said.
"It's the first time I have been to the awards ceremony."
Kay said he did not know how he would fare in the awards, having read the biography of other athletes and their successes during the past year.
"There were some really impressive people in there, so I just wasn't sure how I'd do."
He will enjoy the success while back home in Kapiti for the next two 1/2 months, before returning to Salt Lake City where he will live and continue his ice skating training for nine months.
He will race in two World Cup events this coming season, and expects to head to Europe in an attempt to qualify for the Winter Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Barefoot waterskier Georgia Groen graduated from emerging sportswoman in 2011 to sportswoman of the year in 2012, after setting world records in 2011-12.
Competing at Junior and Open women's events in New Zealand and abroad, Georgia set records in the junior girls' tricks, with a high of 4200 at the Bay of Plenty championships.
She will head to the world championships in August, in Texas, after spending a month training in the United States.
Team of the year went to the Paraparaumu Beach Tennis Club's senior men's team, which gained promotion to Premier 1, after winning 13 of 14 matches this season.
Squash and judo enjoyed good nights at the awards, both sports claiming two trophies.
Paris Dalrymple-Mortleman and Zac Millar won emerging sportswoman and emerging sportsman for their efforts in squash, while Lloyd Tarrant won coach of the year for judo, and Norm Cook volunteer of the year, also for judo.
Defending sportsperson of the year Jayne Parsons took out the disabled athlete award but was beaten by touch and netball player Elise Niu for personality of the year.
Brian Jones won contributor of the year for services to golf, Rosanne Litchfield claimed the administrator award for her involvement in basketball and Richard Ammundsen won official of the year for umpiring table tennis.
Guest speaker John McBeth had the crowd laughing during his speech, recalling memorable moments in his career as a broadcast commentator covering the All Blacks, the Olympics, and the America's Cup.
Event organiser Joe Franklin, of the Lions Club of Kapiti, said the awards was one of the best they had hosted. More than 200 people filled Southward Theatre.
He said McBeth was a very special guest speaker.