Sports award caps rower's year

19:00, Nov 19 2012
Joseph Sullivan
Picton pride: Joseph Sullivan holds the Marlborough Sportsman of the Year Trophy flanked by his mum Elaine, grandfather Mike snr and his dad Mike. SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Olympic Games rowing gold medallist Joseph Sullivan capped off a dream year by winning the Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year in front of a packed house of nearly 300 guests at Marlborough Lines Stadium in Blenheim last night.

It was arguably the easiest decision for the judges in the 46-year history of the event, organised by the Marlborough Express and the Blenheim Round Table, following his win in the double scull final with Nathan Cohen at the London Olympics.

That win was his third elite world crown in succession and the sixth world title in a row following on from three previous under-23 gold medals, making him not only Marlborough's most successful sportsman but also one of New Zealand's best.

Sullivan, the pride of the Picton Rowing Club, became just the third person to win the Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year title three times, joining All Black Alan Sutherland and fellow New Zealand rower Duncan Grant. In typically modest tones, he was quick to thank those who had helped him achieve his goals.

"It's been awesome. Marlborough's been really good to me," he said. "I can't thank people enough and there are so many people to thank. It's a team effort to get one person to the Olympics. It's a community effort to get that gold.

"It's been something that's been really cool and I'm really proud to be where I'm from."


Sullivan also made special mention of his parents Mike and Elaine, who along with his grandfather, Mike Sr, were there last night to watch him win the trophy.

"I would especially like to thank the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad' for helping me achieve what I have. Without them I could not have done it."

Fullbore rifle shooter Sam Teeling took out the most promising under-21 Sportsperson of the Year title for his outstanding performances competing for New Zealand at the World long-course championships, at which he won a gold and two silver medals.

Basketball's Simon Halliday took out the Sports Administrator of the Year title.

Guest speaker last night was New Zealand Black Sticks women's hockey co-captain Kayla Sharland.

The Marlborough Express