Tonight saw the celebration of the Manawatu region’s top sportspeople at the Central Energy Trust (CET) Manawatu Sports Awards, held at the CET Arena in Palmerston North.
Taking out the CET Supreme Sportsperson of the Year was New Zealand motorsport darling Brendon Hartley, who will be at the starting line of Formula One’s first Grand Prix of the 2018 season in Melbourne on March 25.
Hartley, a double World Endurance Champion and 24 Hour of Le Mans winner, will be racing his first full Formula One season this year. He unveiled his brand new Honda-powered STR13 with team Toro Rosso in Barcelona on Monday.
Sending his acceptance, thanks and appreciation from Europe via video, Hartley says he’s “got a big task ahead, but he’s feeling ready”. He also pointed out that one of his favourite times of the year is each December when he comes home to the Manawatu to spend summer holidays, and that he was already looking forward to seeing friends and family.
Back in Palmerston North, the CET Manawatu Sports Awards also celebrated rugby heroes Sarah Goss and Wesley Clarke, who took out UCOL Sportswoman of the Year and Hotel Coachman Coach of the Year respectively. Goss had a stellar 2017 as a part of the Black Ferns XV team who won the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Belfast, defeating cup holders England in the final winning 41-32.
Clarke was Assistant Coach of that Black Ferns team, as well as leading Feilding High School to runner-up of the Central North Island Championship, just losing out to Wesley College in the final.
Hockey Manawatu Incorporated General Manager, Kevin Nicholson, won Administrator of the Year after his dedication to the organisation saw an impressive boost to the books and an uptake in hockey across the region.
For the first time in the awards history, the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year category was split into four categories. “This is a recognition not only of individuals, but a multitude of organisations across our Manawatu community who work tirelessly to help enable sportspeople achieve their goals,” says Sport Manawatu CEO Trevor Shailer.
Feilding’s Jack Lewer, who was the New Zealand Junior Paralympic team flagbearer at the World Atheltics Championships in Switzerland, added winning Palmerston North City Council Disabled Sportsman (Intellectual Disability) of the Year to his string of accolades. Lewer is currently the Sport Manawatu Secondary School Supreme Sportsperson of the Year and holds the NZ record in Discus at the NZSS Track and Field Championships.
Michaela Drummond retained her 2016 Junior Sportswoman of the Year title, this year sponsored by Churchyard Physiotherapy.
The awards evening was a sell-out and hosted by former sports broadcaster Hamish McKay.
As well as congratulating all winners, Palmerston North City Mayor Grant Smith spoke on Sport Manawatu’s Sports House project which has been included in Palmerston North City Council’s draft 10 Year Plan. The current proposal in the Plan is to include a Council contribution to the project, with submissions open from 19 March to 23 April.
2018 CET Manawatu Sports Awards Winners
Central Energy Trust Supreme Sportsperson of the Year
Humphries Construction Sportsman of the Year
UCOL Sportswoman of the Year
Orlando Country Masters Sportsperson of the Year
Unique Realty Team of the Year
PNAHC 4×400 Senior Mens Relay
Hotel Coachman Coach of the Year
Devlin Cameron & Hayes Administrator of the Year
Manawatu Toyota Official of the Year
ANZ Junior Sportsman of the Year
Churchyard Physio Junior Sportswoman of the Year
Tiger Turf Disabled Sportsman (Physical)
MDC Disabled Sportswoman (Physical)
PNCC Disabled Sportsman (Intellectual)
MDC Disabled Sportswoman (Intellectual)
Legends of Sport Inductees
Barry Wynks – Bowls & Table Tennis
Gary Hermansson – Service to Sports
John Knowles – Services to Sport