For 1513 days and counting, Olympic and World Champion rower Eric Murray has had a stranglehold on the Waikato Regional Sports Award Supreme Award for Sporting Excellence.
Murray claimed his fifth straight supreme award last night, as well as winning Sportsman of the Year at the awards evening held at the Claudelands Conference and Exhibition Centre.
Paired with Hamish Bond, Murray won gold medals at the World Cup regattas at Eton Dorney and Lucerne and the world champs in South Korea last year.
Winning gold in Chungju saw the pair extend their unbeaten run in major regattas to 16 races, winning four world titles, an Olympic gold and 11 World Cup events in the process.
That unbeaten streak has extended to the sports awards, as Murray held off Sportswoman of the Year Honey Hireme, Coach of the Year Dave Rennie, and the Chiefs Super XV side which won Team of the Year, to win the top gong.
Sportswoman of the Year Hireme was a key contributor for the New Zealand women's sevens team which won the World Cup last year.
New Zealand were undefeated in the World Cup, defeating Canada 29-12 in the final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Hireme scored four tries during the tournament, including one in the final.
She helped lead Waikato to the semifinals of the national sevens tournament this month, and was handed one of the first women's sevens professional contracts last week.
Rennie guided his Chiefs team to their second Super Rugby title in a row last year, beating the Brumbies 27-22 in the final at Waikato Stadium.
Since taking over as coach of the franchise in 2012, Rennie has led the team to back to back titles, and is regarded as one of the top coaches in world rugby.
Sport Waikato chief executive Matthew Cooper said the night highlighted high achievement in grassroots, community and elite sport.
"From athletics to sailing, hockey to BMX, there's been a positive cross section of sports represented," he said.
"It's very important to continue to celebrate our sporting achievements with a positive event such as the Regional Awards."
All Blacks Assistant Coach Ian Foster was the guest speaker for the evening.
Lodge Real Estate Club Coach of the Year – Boyd Nelson (Cambridge BMX)
Lodge Real Estate Club Team of the Year – Hamilton Marist Premier Rugby Team
Lodge Real Estate Club of the Year – Cambridge BMX
Club Deloitte Administrator of the Year – Maree Hawkins (Pacific Rugby League Club)
Referee/Umpire of the Year – Shanelle Barrett (Tri-Sport Taupo)
Tompkins Wake Coach of the Year – Dave Rennie (Chiefs)
R P Luckie Sporting Personality of the Year – Tim Mikkelson (Waikato Rugby Union)
Waikato Times Secondary Schools Team of the Year – Hamilton Boys' High School First XI Hockey Team
Waikato Times Secondary Schools Sportswoman of the Year – Nikita Howarth (Cambridge High School)
Waikato Times Secondary Schools Sportsman of the Year – Micah Wilkinson (Cambridge High School)
Livingstone Building Emerging Talent Award – Hayden McCormick (Te Awamutu Cycling Club)
Wintec Team of the Year – The Chiefs
Gallagher Group Sportswoman of the Year – Honey Hireme (Waikato Rugby Union)
Arrow International Sportsman of the Year – Eric Murray (Rowing New Zealand)
Service to Sport – Ross Brazier (Chiefs)
Brian Perry Supreme Award for Sporting Excellence – Eric Murray
- © Fairfax NZ News
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