World champ a natural for top award

Last updated 05:00 12/04/2014

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Wanaka-based paddle boarder Annabel Anderson was named supreme winner of the Central Otago Sports Awards in Cromwell last night.

She was earlier named senior sportswoman of the year before taking out the supreme title, the Bruce Grant Memorial Trophy.

The awards were based on the 2013 sporting year, which was a stellar one for Anderson, who finished the year unbeaten.

She won her second successive Stand Up World Tour Championship title, as well as winning her second successive "double-double" title in the Battle of the Paddle Championships for the short and long course - the only person to ever claim a "double-double".

She was named the 2013 female athlete of the year at the international SUP Awards in San Clemente, California, where she also took out the 2013 female performance of the year.

The sportsman of the year award went to another Wanaka-based athlete - multisporter Braden Currie - who continues to improve after only taking up the sport in 2011.

His 2013 achievements included wins in the Red Bull Wulong Mountain Quest and the Wenzhou Adventure Race in China and victory in the Coast to Coast, the Motatapu Xterra, the Peak to Peak Multisport race and the Challenge Wanaka half ironman.

Alexandra cyclists dominated the junior categories, with Liam Aitcheson and Sophie Williamson taking out the junior men's and women's titles respectively both for the second year in a row.

Liam brought home three silver medals from the 2013 Junior World Track Cycling Championships and was also part of the New Zealand Under-19 men's road development squad and the New Zealand Under-19 Oceania road cycling team.

After being injured for the first four months of 2013, Sophie won the New Zealand Club Road National senior women's title before heading to the United States to be join her American team - Vanderkitten, where she had several top 10 placings.

She finished the year by winning a silver medal in the elite women's points race at the Oceania Track Cycling Championships and a silver medal at the UCI tier 1 world cup event in Invercargill.

The sports team of the year award went to the Wanaka Under-19 boys' rowing crew of Jamie Bowley, James Redai, Jarrod Wellman and Nicholas Jackson who won the Wanaka Rowing Club's first title at the New Zealand national rowing championships.

New Zealand freeski coach for High Performance Sport New Zealand, Bruce Wells, from Wanaka, won the coach of the year title for his efforts as a coach to his four sons Jossi, Byron, Beau-James and Jackson.

Wells led his three oldest sons into the gruelling Olympic qualifying competitions, in which all three of them qualified for this year's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

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The John Fitzharris memorial services to sport award went to Alexandra netball stalwart Margaret Bennie, who has been involved in the administration of Central Otago Netball since 1981.

- The Southland Times

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