For Courtney Duncan, there is no place like home.
The two-time Women’s MotocrossWorld Champion took home the supreme award at the Network Waitaki Sports Awards on Monday for the second year in a row.
She also won sportswoman of the year at the annual event at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre.
“I would like to thank all the sponsors and Sport Waitaki, and everyone who makes this possible to showcase the talent here in Waitaki. All the support and the people that follow me – I appreciate that too,” Duncan said, accepting her award.
Being back home was “amazing”, following a tough year on the racing circuit where she crashed on her way to retaining her world title.
After the incident, she knew she needed to win every race in the series to have a hope of reaching the podium.
“It definitely put me under the pump, but when I crossed the finish line and knew I was champ, it was a pretty cool feeling.”
Rower Mark Taylor won sportsman of the year for the second year in a row. Oamaru rowing coach Owen Gould accepted the award on Taylor’s behalf.
Gould then went on to win his own award, claiming coach of the year.
Equestrian rider Emma Gillies won junior sportswoman of the year, and clay target shooter Clark Ewing the junior sportsman of the year title.
Cyclist Hamish McCallum won the athlete with a disability award and heaped praise on Oamaru multisport stalwart Adair Craik for her support.
Tennis player Peter Simpson won the master sportsperson award, and shearing judge Colin Gibson received the memorial services to sport award.
Young touch rugby referee Jessica Crossley was awarded official in sport, and the Waitaki Girls’ trap shooting team was named team of the year.
Female emerging talent went to Ella Fraser, and the male emerging talent award was won by Jack Nicol.
Retired international cyclist turned bobsledder Eddie Dawkins was the guest speaker.
Dawkins, alongside team members Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster, won gold at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games in the team sprint. The group also won New Zealand’s first world team sprint title in 2014.
When the team first experienced success, they were unsure how to handle it.
“We know that the coaches and the other riders and the staff and the federation and the nation all want you to do really well, but if you don’t really want it yourself, and you’re not really going to put yourself on the line for it, then it’s not going to come off.
“As the three of us we just made it all about ourselves and doing it for each other,” Dawkins said.
He retired from the sport last year as it was a “selfish lifestyle” and he was ready to start a family.
“I’ve achieved what I’ve achieved and I’m very proud of that, but being a dad now – I’m much more proud of that then anything I’ve done in cycling.”
He was creating his own bobsledding team, and was looking to enter into the sport seriously in the future.