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Waitaki’s astonishing depth of sporting talent is revealed in the list of finalists for the province’s annual sports awards.

The North Otago Sports Bodies in conjunction with Sport Waitaki have announced the finalists for the Network Waitaki-sponsored awards.

Sport Waitaki’s Mitch McRae believed the nominations were some of the strongest in the history of the awards.

In the junior sportsmen and sportswomen categories, there was a particularly strong roster of candidates.

“From the judging side of it, it was probably one of the toughest years trying to [select] the finalists – you’ve got different sports, different pathways, people reaching different levels,” McRae said.

“It’s awesome when all of these nominations come in and you get a chance to really see all of the achievements. We’d love to recognise everyone – it’s cruel to just narrow it down to three [finalists].

“The talent around Oamaru is next level, which is something we should be proud of.”

Finalists compete for their respective category awards and the winners enter the running for the supreme award. It dates back to 1963 and last year was claimed by champion motocross rider Courtney Duncan.

The judging panel consisted of McRae, Trevor James, Mark Julius, Diane Talanoa, Nicki Patterson and Adair Craik.

The Waitaki Sports Awards are being held at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre on March 18.

The guest speaker is Otago rugby coach Ben Herring.

Tickets are available through Sport Waitaki or at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre.

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN

Max De Geest (basketball)

Connor Bolitho (squash)

Luke Hayman (mountain biking)

JUNIOR SPORTSWOMAN

Taneisha Fifita (netball)

Caitlin Middlemiss (gymnastics)

Anna Craig (trapshooting)

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Tim Rush (mountain biking)

Nathan Smith (cricket)

Mark Taylor (rowing)

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR

Morgan Henderson (rugby)

Cheyenne Cunningham (rugby)

COACH

Abbey McKenzie (netball)

Michelle Johnston (gymnastics)

Jeff Spillane (athletics and harriers)

OFFICIAL IN SPORT

Nick Webster (rugby)

Shania Kohinga (touch rugby)

Mike Sandri (ultra-marathon)

TEAM

Logan Docherty and James Scott (rowing)

WBHS Junior basketball

North Otago Under 17 Netball

MASTERS

Adair Craik (triathlon)

Wendy Fallon (long-distance running)

Other categories include: services to sport, athlete with a disability and male and female emerging talent.