Stacked sportswoman's category for Halbergs
Lydia Ko, Valerie Adams, Scott Dixon and Kieran Read headline the finalists for next month's Halberg Awards.
Nominations were last night whittled down from 58 names to 25 finalists across six categories for New Zealand's major sporting gongs, to be awarded at Auckland's Vector Arena on February 13.
The women's category is particularly competitive.
Ko, the teenage golf sensation ranked No 4 in the world, is pitted against shot put world champion Adams, world champion canoeist Lisa Carrington and swimmer Lauren Boyle, who won three bronze medals at the world championships.
The achievements of the men's finalists are also impressive. IndyCar champion Dixon and world rugby player of the year Read would appear the favourites.
But also in the mix are world No 1 equestrian rider Andrew Nicholson and track cycling world champion Aaron Gate.
The team finalists are the All Blacks - who enjoyed a perfect 2013 - the world champion Black Sox, the all-conquering rowing pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray and two yachting combinations; Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
Coach of the year will be drawn from Eddie Kohlhase (softball), Guy Wilson (golf), Nathan Handley (yachting) and Steve Hansen (rugby).
Paralympic swimming champions Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fisher, who each won five gold medals at the world championships, are finalists in the disabled category, along with David Monk (bowls) and Mike Johnson (shooting).
Former athletes, coaches and media representatives comprised a 30-strong voting academy to decide if the achievements represented excellence in sport at the highest level.
"It shows just how successful our athletes have been across various sports codes in 2013 and hopefully inspires the future world, Olympic and Paralympic champions to aim high," Halberg Disability Sport Foundation chief executive Geoff Burgess said.
AT A GLANCE
The full list of finalists for the 51st Halberg Awards:
Sportsman of the Year: Aaron Gate (cycling), Andrew Nicholson (equestrian), Kieran Read (rugby), Scott Dixon (motorsport)
Sportswoman of the Year: Lauren Boyle (swimming), Lisa Carrington (canoeing), Lydia Ko (golf), Valerie Adams (athletics)
Team of the Year: All Blacks (rugby), Black Sox (softball), Men's Pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (rowing), Women's 470 – Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (yachting) and Men's 49er Class Team – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (yachting)
Coach of the Year: Eddie Kohlhase (softball), Guy Wilson (golf), Nathan Handley (yachting), Steve Hansen (rugby)
Disabled Sportsperson of the Year: David Monk (blind bowling), Mary Fisher (para swimming), Mike Johnson (para shooting), Sophie Pascoe (para swimming)
Emerging Talent: Ella Williams (surfing), Gabrielle Fa'amausili (swimming), Jake Lewis (motorcycling), Tom Murray (rowing)