Lydia Ko wins supreme Halberg award
Teenage golfer Lydia Ko and the All Blacks dominated the Halberg Awards in Auckland tonight.
Sixteen-year-old Ko, who was missing from the ceremony because she is overseas competing in the Australian Open, was crowned sportswoman of the year and took the overall award ahead of fellow supreme finalists Scott Dixon, Sophie Pascoe and the All Blacks.
The judging academy of 30 panelists deemed Ko sportswoman of the year ahead of Valerie Adams, Lisa Carrington and Lauren Boyle - with the result the first time since 2005 that Adams, who was unbeaten all season on the international athletics circuit and made history becoming the first female athlete to win four world championship titles, has not won top female honours.
Ko, who achieved a runner-up finish in a major championship last year and won three professional events, received news of her success via video link from Melbourne.
Elsewhere, it was also a big night for the All Blacks. Capping a perfect 2013 – becoming the first team in the professional era of rugby to win every game in a season – the men in black walked away with team of the year honours, while Steve Hansen won coach of the year and captain Richie McCaw was honoured with a leadership award.
Sportsman of the year finalist Kieran Read was unsuccessful however, beaten to the gong by driver Scott Dixon.
Dixon, who was IndyCar champion for a third time in his career last year, got the nod ahead of Read, world number one eventing champion Andrew Nicholson and track cycling world champion Aaron Gate, but was also absent due to pre-season testing.
Paralympic swimmer Sophie Pascoe was again named disabled sportsperson of the year, after securing five gold medals at the IPC world championships, ahead of fellow swimming world champion Mary Fisher, blind bowling world champion David Monk and shooting world record holder Mike Johnson.
Fourteen-year-old swimmer Gabrielle Fa’amausili received the emerging talent award and – which comes with a $10,000 scholarship – ahead of surfer Ella Williams, rower Tom Murray and motorcyclist Jake Lewis.
During the awards ceremony former All Black Jonah Lomu and Olympic champion cyclist Sarah Ulmer were also inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.
Graham Sycamore of Invercargill was recognised with a lifetime achievement award for over 50 years of service to cycling. The Southerner has been involved as a competitor, administration and official, having adjudicated at six world championships, seven Commonwealth Games and three Olympic Games.
Halberg awards 2013:
Supreme award: Lydia Ko
Sportswoman of the year: Lydia Ko
Sportsman of the year: Scott Dixon
Disabled sportsperson of the year: Sophie Pascoe
Team of the year: All Blacks
Coach of the year: Steve Hansen
Leadership award: Richie McCaw
Hall of fame inductees: Sarah Ulmer and Jonah Lomu
Lifetime achievement: Graham Sycamore