Awards top off 'massive' year
It was a brother-sister act at last night's Taranaki Daily News Sportsperson of the Year Awards in New Plymouth.
Olympic swimmer Dylan Dunlop-Barrett won the overall award after earlier in the night heading off a quality line-up, including Rugby World Cup squad member Andrew Hore and fellow All Black Beauden Barrett, to win the senior sportsman of the year award.
Dylan's sister Ayla won the senior sportswoman award for the third time - her other wins were in 2008 and last year - with the North Taranaki indoor bowls team claiming the senior sports team of the year award.
The overall winner is decided from the winners of the three senior categories and the three junior categories.
"I'm incredibly humbled by this," Dylan said after receiving the supreme award. "But more importantly, I'm stoked to beat my sister. Seriously though, she's always been there for me over the years."
Dylan said it had been a "massive" year.
"Pretty remarkable really. Hearing all that stuff about the Olympics and receiving an Olympic pin, it's pretty humbling really."
Dylan, who is training at the Millennium High Performance Centre in Auckland, was earlier in the night presented with Olympic pin number 1138 from guest speaker and IOC member Barry Maister.
Ayla's partner Glenn Anderson, who was a nominee for the coach of the year award, accepted the trophy on her behalf.
"I'm not Ayla," he said when stepping to the podium. "It's been a huge year for Ayla . . . we had a baby two weeks ago and he takes up a bit of time, graduating uni, setting up a new business, a brother competing at the Olympics and a cousin [second cousin Beauden Barrett] in the All Blacks."
Dylan was a member of the 4x200m team that took seven seconds off the New Zealand record and made the qualifying time for the London Olympics. At the Olympics, the Kiwi team finished 15th.
The 21-year-old had an outstanding year in the pool, gaining a silver in the 400m freestyle and a bronze in the 200m freestyle at the New Zealand Open and Olympic trials. Competing for Taranaki, he claimed bronze in the 200m freestyle at the New Zealand short course championships.
It's the first time he has won the senior award - he won the junior sportsman award in 2008.
Ayla represented New Zealand at the German Cup surf lifesaving event last November. At the New Zealand surf lifesaving championships at Midway Beach, she won the open women's tube rescue, finished second in the board race and third in both the surf race and the run, swim, run.
At the Australian champs, Ayla won the tube rescue and was third in the surf teams event. She was also a member of the Taranaki team that won the interdistrict open Surf League title for the fourth consecutive year.
The North Taranaki indoor bowls team won the prestigious Welch Trophy.
The team first had to win their regional Paterson Trophy competition to qualify for the nationals beating five other teams. After four rounds at the national tournament, North Taranaki were in fourth place. Starting the final round five points behind Canterbury, they overhauled the defending champions to claim the trophy - 32 years after North Taranaki had last won the event.
Outstanding junior athlete Matthew Baxter won the junior sportsman award.
Baxter was first in the Australian secondary schools' cross-country in Adelaide and fourth overall in the under-20 age group.
He has gained initial selection in the squad to represent New Zealand in the junior men's division at the world cross-country in Poland in March.
He has the fastest time for a men's 19 years runner in New Zealand this season.
Rebecca Cole won the junior sportswoman award.
Cole was selected in the New Zealand sprint canoe team to compete at the Oceania championships. In Sydney, she won the under-19 K4 500m and the under-19 K1 500m. She was selected in a New Zealand team to tour Europe and raced in the Czech Republic nationals finishing first in the under-19 K4 500m and the under-19 K2 500m. At the New Zealand 10km kayak champs, she won the under-19 title.
Opunake High School's Hillary Challenge team won the junior sports team award. The school team broke through for a deserved win in the gruelling Hillary Challenge five-day adventure race at Tongariro earlier this year.
After finishing second on three occasions - 2007, 2008 and 2011 - and third in 2010, the eight-strong Opunake team won the event, beating their arch rivals - a combined side from New Plymouth Girls' High School and Boys' High School.
Masters award winner Andrea Bunn competed successfully in both open and masters kayaking events over the past 12 months.
The highlight for the three-time Olympian was winning the women's 35-44 years K1 title over 25km at the world marathon kayak championships in Rome in September.
Taranaki rugby coach Colin Cooper walked away with the coach of the year award.
Taranaki defended the Ranfurly Shield on six occasions this year before losing it to Waikato.
Inline hockey's Krystyna Beardman, who ran national and international tournaments this year, was the winner of the volunteer-administrator of the year award, while rugby referee Richard Kelly was the game official of the year. Kelly controlled nine NPC games this year and was an assistant referee in Super Rugby.
Taranaki Daily News