Celebrating international success will be on the menu at the South Canterbury Sports Awards next Friday night.
There are 71 nominees in eight categories, and more than 520 people are expected to attend the gala dinner, which has Sir Graham Henry as the guest speaker.
Four of those vying for the top accolade, Outstanding Sportsperson of the Year, are all a chance after outstanding success on the world stage.
Rally driver Hayden Paddon is up against speedskater Nicole Begg and cyclists Marc Ryan and Shane Archbold, and all are a good shout to take the prestigious trophy.
Three of them are no strangers to be named South Canterbury's best sportsperson.
Ryan took the title trifecta from 2004 and again in 2009 and has become an integral member of New Zealand's team pursuit.
Archbold won last year after finishing second in the six-discipline omnium at the world championships while Begg won it twice in 2006 and 2007.
But it could be Paddon's turn to top the podium after taking out the Production World Rally Championships.
The 24-year-old won the first four races in the championships, on three different continents, before wrapping up the title in Australia, where he also finished sixth overall against World Rally Championship competitors.
He was also the first Kiwi to win Rally New Zealand outright in 31 years.
Archbold finished fifth at the World Track Cycling Championships in the omnium and was BikeNZ's "track rider of the year".
Ryan was a bronze medallist at the World Track Cycling Championships in the teams pursuit.
He also won gold in the Columbia round of the World Cup and was third in London.
Ryan has become an integral member of the team and like Archbold has also been selected for the Olympics.
Begg took out the overall World Inline Cup marathon title in China.
An injury meant she limped to the finish but collected enough points to win the title, which is contested over seven rounds.
The seven other nominees Kelly Evans (showjumping), Matt Fetu (rugby), Natalie Rooney (clay target shooting), Tim Leonard (golf), Nicola Mackle (netball), Wayne Doyle (masters athletics), and Tom Walsh (athletics) have also excelled, either representing New Zealand or being a national champion, but such is the class of the field they will struggle to win.
The Young Sportsperson of the Year has 20 strong nominees, with 10 national titles and seven New Zealand representatives among them.
It appears to be a battle between Craighead tennis player Emily Fanning, who won the award last year, and Waimate cyclist Dylan Kennett.
Kennett won two bronze medals at the Junior World Track Championships last August and has added four Oceania gold medals.
The 17-year-old has already bagged the North Otago Young Sportsperson, as he attended St Kevins College in Oamaru.
Fanning achieved a career-high world junior ITF ranking of 50.
She led the New Zealand Junior Federation Cup tennis team in India and was undefeated in the Asia Oceania World Group qualifying tournament.
With the numbers playing netball, Alice Eddington's achievement is also noteworthy with the goal shoot having secured a spot in the New Zealand under 21 team.
Skater Guy McDonald, 14, also impressed winning five titles in his age group at the Oceania Championships.
Hockey has two nominees in Cass Reid and Katie Austin, who both made the New Zealand under 18 women's team.
The other nominees are: Samantha Olley (triathlon), Annabel Ellis (tennis), Emily van der Heyden (speedskating), Joshua May (supercross), James Sandilands (athletics), Erica Taylor (rowing), Jasmine Rule (croquet), William Rooney (clay target shooting), Jack Ford (cycling), Shea Thompson (football), Matthew Morrison (yachting), Joelle Snook (equestrian show hunter), Damian Rodgers (golf), Jesse Kempf (volleyball).
In the team category it also tough to pick a winner but Timaru Boys' High School rowing twins Russell and Cameron Crampton could be tough to beat along with the Craighead netball team.
Sport Canterbury regional manager Verna Parker said she was pleased with the number and quality of the nominees.
The awards are designed to allow nominations from sporting organisations, who put forward their best performing athlete.
However, if more than one has represented New Zealand, another nominee will be accepted.
Where elite performers are not nominated by an association, Sport Canterbury can allow clubs to nominate athletes as the rules include a "residency and/or competing" clause.
Parker said the intent was to ensure all elite performers were given the opportunity to be acknowledged because pathways to the top of sport often differed.
The Herald will run a full list of nominees and profile the sportsperson and young sportsperson nominees in Wednesday's paper.
- © Fairfax NZ News