Rowing shows its depth at Halberg Awards

21:08, Feb 14 2013
Dick Tonks
The 2012 Halberg Coach of the Year, Richard Tonks
Mahe Drysdale
The 2012 Halberg Sportsman of the Year, Mahe Drysdale
Valerie Adams
The 2012 Halberg Sportswoman of the Year, Valerie Adams
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray
The 2012 Halberg Team of the Year, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray
Eric Murray and Hamish Bond
The 2012 Halberg Supreme Award winners, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond
Lydia Ko
The 2012 Halberg Emerging Talent winner, Lydia Ko
Sophie Pascoe
The 2012 Halberg Disabled Athlete winner, Sophie Pascoe
Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan
The 2012 Halberg Sporting Moment of the Year winners, Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan.

Rowing has matched the most successful performance of any sport in Halberg history.

Winning four of the traditional top five awards in Auckland last night, only rugby's World Cup-winning All Blacks class of 2011 has ever been so dominant in a single year.

All five of the categories rowing featured in ended up with a success story - thanks to delivering five of New Zealand's 13 medals at the London 2012 Olympics, the nation's most success Games since Seoul 1988.

Untouchable men's pair, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, headed the accolades taking out both the supreme award and team of the year. Cruising to the 2012 Olympic title, Bond and Murray have been unbeatable in the four years since striking their partnership.

But it was rowing's depth that underpinned last night's ceremony.

After five world titles, Mahe Drysdale's realisation of Olympic gold in London made him a clear winner in the sportsman of the year category ahead of Olympic bronze medallists Andrew Nicholson (team eventing) and Simon van Velthooven (cycling), and also All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, whose side lost only one game in 2012.

It's the fourth sportsman of the year gong in his career so far, and like Bond and Murray, Drysdale has already committed to another Olympic campaign in Rio 2016.

Coach of the year honours went, deservedly, to national rowing supremo Richard Tonks.

Drysdale described Tonks as a "mastermind" last night and in typically reserved style Tonks stayed away from the evening, preferring instead, Drysdale said, to deal with training sessions this morning.

Plonking a cherry on top of an already highly decorated cake, the stirring comeback of double scullers Nathan Cohen and Jospeh Sullivan for Olympic gold was the right choice for New Zealand's sporting moment of the year.

Sullivan acknowledged the evening's awards as important to a close band of squad members based at Lake Karapiro.

"It's pretty special for rowing that we're managing to take away so many things, it's a tribute to the training, ambition and pressure we put on ourselves," Sullivan said.

Bond, who for once spoke more than his vociferous crewmate, accepted the pair's honours with grace and gratitude.

Advertisement

Piri Weepu and Keven Mealamu
All Blacks Piri Weepu and Keven Mealamu arrive with Keven's wife Latai at the 2013 Halberg Award
Steve Hansen
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and wife arrive at the 2013 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray
Hamish Bond (L) and Eric Murray wih partners as Guests arrive at the 2013 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Valerie Adams
Valerie Adams arrives with partner Jeremy Lee at the 2013 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Lisa Carrington
Lisa Carrington and partner arrive at the 2013 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Hamish Carter
Hamish Carter and wife Marisa at the 2013 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Simon van Velthooven
Simon van Velthooven (R) and his coach Justin Grace arrive at the 2013 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Mahe Drysdale
Mahe Drysdale and partner Juliette Haigh arrive at the 2013 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Breakers Dillon Boucher (L) with Mika Vikona
Breakers Dillon Boucher (L) with Mika Vikona and partners arrive at the 2013 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland.
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won the Supreme Helberg award and the team of the year.
Valerie Adams and Mahe Drysdale
Valerie Adams wins the sportswoman of the year and Mahe Drysdale wins sportsman of the year.
Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen
Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen wins NZ favourite Sporting Moment.
Mahe Drysdale
Mahe Drysdale wins sportsman of the year.
Valerie Adams
Valerie Adams wins the sportswoman of the year.

Stuff