It's set to be ladies night at Halberg Awards

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 09/02/2014
val adams
GOLDEN GIRL: Valerie Adams was a standard performer in 2013.
Lydia Ko
IAIN MCGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
STAR ATTRACTION: Lydia Ko was in a relaxed and confident mood while playing in yesterday's New Zealand Women's Open pro-am at Clearwater.

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Women's sports will take centre stage at this week's Halberg awards, followed by how closely the judges stick to the criteria.

The battle for sportswoman of the year promises to be the closest-run race on Thursday night - with golf prodigy Lydia Ko and winner of the title for the past seven years Valerie Adams tipped as frontrunners alongside swimmer Lauren Boyle and kayaker Lisa Carrington.

Adams secured her pinnacle event of the year by winning the world shot put championship in Moscow - becoming the first female athlete in the world to win four world titles. Also unbeaten in 2013 on her way to another Diamond League title, Adams appears to fulfil the performance criteria most comprehensively - with Carrington the only other female finalist to win her sport's pinnacle title last year.

While not quite securing a pinnacle event in 2013, Ko, 16, still had a stunning 2013 season, topped by an impressive second-place finish at the Evian Masters - one of five Major championships in women's golf. Ko is also the fourth-ranked women's golfer in the world - the highest ranking ever held by a New Zealander.

IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and Kieran Read, who captained the All Blacks side which became the first to win every game in a season since the professional game began, lead the sportsman of the year finalists and the All Blacks have the inside running for team of the year as does Steve Hansen for coach of the year.

Swimmer Sophie Pascoe, with five gold medals at the IPC world champs and 13 world records last year, is favourite for the disabled sportsperson of the year award.

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