Controversy over All Whites' Halbergs win

12:09, Feb 11 2011

Athletics great Dick Tayler is resigning from the Halberg Awards' judging panel in protest over the All Whites being awarded the supreme prize.

Tayler, himself a former winner of the supreme award, will hand his notice of resignation to the Halberg Trust today, unhappy that the New Zealand football team beat off all contenders at last night's awards.

He believes the criteria needs to be clearer and greater emphasis put on winning.

The All Whites' campaign at last year's World Cup in South Africa was widely regarded as a triumph even though they drew all three of their matches and failed to advance beyond the pool phase.

"I think that's what the Halberg Trust wants too, to judge it on success," Tayler said.

"Really, when you look at it, there's other teams and individuals who actually won something."

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Tayler won the 1974 supreme award for running to a gold medal in the 10,000m at the Christchurch Commonwealth Games.

He expressed disappointment that Ricki Herbert was crowned coach of the year, while the All Whites headed off the All Blacks as team of the year, despite the latter winning all but one test in dominant style. The All Blacks were also nominated as finalists for this year's Laureus world sports awards in Abu Dhabi.

The only category the All Whites didn't fulfil their nomination in was sportsman of the year, with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw getting the nod ahead of Ryan Nelsen.

Tayler is the President of the Canterbury Rugby Supporters Club but wouldn't confirm he had voted for the All Blacks.

"I'm not interested in criticising the other judges but I just think personally, I don't agree with the end result. I'm not saying who should have got it."

Tayler said he wasn't surprised at the result.

"I had a gut feeling it could happen. People get a bit carried away with something and don't think deeply enough into it.

"Really, they (All Whites) didn't win anything. Part of the criteria for the Halbergs is about people winning or high achieving.

"No disrespect but they didn't reach that criteria in my book."

Tayler said he had enjoyed being on the panel for "a number of years" and would continue to fully support the work of the Halberg Trust, which was established by another former athlete, Sir Murray Halberg, to honour sporting excellence and carry out work to encourage disabled people to partake in sport and recreation.

Halberg Trust chairman Steve Hall said despite a lot of negative discussion on social media sites like Twitter about the All Whites win, there had been a lot of positive media coverage also.

"Boards are subjective. There is always different points of view. I guess as is often the way, people are passionate about their sport."

There are 28 judges on the Halberg Awards panel, comprising 10 members of the working media and 18 current or former athletes, coaches and administrators: Philippa Baker Hogan, Hamish Carter, Ron Cheatley, Graeme Crosby, Andy Dalton, Steve Gurney, Rachael Henderson, Debbie Hockley, Jayne Kiely, Danyon Loader, Ron Palenski, Farah Palmer, Ramesh Patel, Anna Rowberry, Mark Sorensen, Mike Stanley, Howie Tamati and Tayler.

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