Porirua Sports Awards: Deciding the winners a tough task for judges
Pity the poor judges tasked with picking the winners of this year's Porirua Sports Awards.
The annual awards recognise, celebrate and reward sports people living in Porirua City for their achievements over the past year but it's no mean feat choosing who takes the prize.
One of four judges, former Kapi-Mana News reporter Kris Dando said he was impressed with the variety of sports represented in the nominations.
"It shows that Porirua's sportspeople and teams are achieving on many different levels."
Although the nominations started with a trickle, they ended in a flood with 44 entries the final result, well up from a few years ago.
Dando said it was particularly good to see nominations in the Disabled Sportsperson category continue to grow.
Choosing winners in the service to sport and volunteer categories was especially difficult for the judges, as all the people nominated had given so much of their lives to their chosen sport.
Joining Dando on the judging bench were Pulse and Samoa netballer Frances Solia, councillor Faafoi Seiuli; and former Norths, Lions, Hurricanes and All Black John Schwalger.
Solia said strong candidates across most categories made it tough choosing winners.
"While some nominations stood out, there was full and frank discussions among the judges for a good few of the awards."
Some of the highlights of this year's entries were Elijah Just, in the Young Sportsman category and Declan Edge from the Central League-winning Western Suburbs football side.
Nominations for new Silver Fern Whitney Souness and rising star Mila Reulu-Buchanan meant netball was well-represented, and stunning young golfers Jayden Ford and Daniel Hillier were given the nod.
There were plenty of worthy team entries, including the all-conquering Titahi Bay A surf boat crew, Ngati Toa basketballers and Porirua College 1st XV rugby side.
Black Sox coach Mark Sorenson will be a firm favourite - he is also the guest speaker on the night - and there were high-calibre service to sport entrants in Ron Wood, Denys Latham (both rugby) and Viv Morton (swimming).
Winners will be announced at the awards at Te Rauparaha Arena on October 26.