Evening to celebrate district’s top talent

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It is time to celebrate Waitaki’s sporting stars.

The Network Waitaki Sports Awards are being held on Monday at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre, recognising and celebrating the district’s top sporting talent from 2021.

There are 28 individuals and teams nominated across the 12 categories, from emerging talent and official in sport to coach of the year and sportspeople and team of the year.

Finalists have been announced this year for the male and female emerging talent and official in sport categories, compared with an outright winner previously. Recipients of awards for masters sportsperson, services to sport and sportsperson of the year will be announced on the evening.

Sport Waitaki co-ordinator Pip Sutton said there was a really high calibre of nominees for the awards, and it was exciting to be able to celebrate them with the community.

New Zealand under-23 rower Logan Docherty, top mountain biker Taz Selfe and North Otago and Kurow rugby player Hayden Todd are up for sportsman of the year. Three-time world motocross champion Courtney Duncan and Olympic cyclist Holly Edmondston are in the running for sportswoman of the year.

About 190 people are expected to attend the function, which will be opened by a performance by the Weston School kapa haka group.

Hayden Paddon is the guest speaker for the evening, and will give a speech before a question and answer segment. Sutton said the committee was ‘‘pumped’’ to have Paddon at the event, fresh off the Otago Rally, and having created a world-first electric rally car.

The evening will also see two people inducted into the Waitaki Sports Hall of Fame, and there will be another special presentation.

Ryan Mountney will emcee the awards while Hayden Meikle will emcee the hall of fame section.

It was also a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the award sponsors, who have backed the awards, and their categories, for many years.

The support of principal sponsor Network Waitaki was invaluable.

‘‘Their support means it’s possible. Without them, we couldn’t have these awards,’’ Sutton said.

Ticket sales for the awards have now closed. Doors will open at 6.15pm, and the event will start at 7pm.