Strang: Who really cares about the Halbergs?

Lisa Carrington won't care if her double world title win doesn't earn a Halberg award this year.

Lisa Carrington won't care if her double world title win doesn't earn a Halberg award this year.

OPINION: You could see the joy on Lisa Carrington's face as soon as she won her second world title at this year's canoe sprint world championships.

She'd finally done it. The relief was clear. After all this time the one award she wanted would be heading home to her trophy cabinet.

Finally she would claim the coveted Halberg Award she had dreamed of since she was a wee nipper growing up at Ohope Beach. Or not.

When Lydia Ko went and won her first golf major on Monday in France you could see the tears starting to well up in the corners of her eyes. She looked stunned. The realisation that a life long dream had finally been achieved was too much for the 18-year-old. Her opponents poured water on her to cool and calm her down.

A third straight Halberg for sportswoman of the year would be heading her way, and she would join Valerie Adams as the only other person to achieve that feat. Or not.

The fact is none of New Zealand's top athletes really care about the Halberg Awards. Lisa Carrington didn't lose sleep when Lydia Ko went and won women's golf's fifth major, knowing her chance of a Halberg win went with it.

Athletes don't set aside the Halberg Awards date each year and make sure they are free and ready to attend. A good chunk of the athletes who attend probably find it to be a chore. They have to keep up appearances and possibly hit up potential sponsors. It's their duty to be there, to appear happy and cheerful and show their young fans they do care.

But the awards don't matter from a sporting perspective. These athletes are in their sports to win world titles and conquer the Olympic Games, not to have some random award sponsor shake your hand with a sweaty palm and pat you on the back.

There are always exceptions. I'm sure the All Whites were thrilled to actually win something in 2010 when they were handed the Supreme Halberg, having drawn their way into our hearts and minds.

But for the bulk of our sports stars, the Halbergs is just something that is there. It exists. That's it.

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So let's cut the ridiculous chat after any major Kiwi sporting achievement about who will win a Halberg. Why do we feel the need to weigh up Lydia Ko winning a major championship with Scott Dixon taking an IndyCar title and Steve Hansen's coaching record with the dominance of Bond and Murray?

It's all apples and oranges. Who cares?

We should take the Halbergs for what they are - a meaningless celebration of Kiwi sporting achievement. There's nothing wrong with celebrating success, but let's stop pretending that any of our athletes actually care about winning a Halberg award.

 - Stuff


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