If the Waitaki Sports Awards had been one week later, Courtney Duncan would have been home to accept her awards.
Instead, Duncan’s mother, Linda, proudly accepted her daughter’s trophies for sportswoman of the year and overall sportsperson of the year at the Monday night awards ceremony in Oamaru.
Duncan, who is in England at present, was a clear front-runner for the supreme award, coming back from injuries and adversity to win her third consecutive Women’s Motocross World Championship last year.
Duncan has continued to face challenges this year, returning after a broken collarbone to win the Spanish round of the Women’s World Motocross Championship just last weekend.
She will now spend the season’s two and a-half-month gap at home in New Zealand, before returning to Europe for the next round in September.
In a video message at the awards, Duncan told the 190 guests at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre she was ‘‘gutted’’ to miss the awards and appreciated the honour.
‘‘I just want to say a huge shout-out to the community, North Otago, for all the support you guys give me and following my journey — really appreciated,’’ she said.
New Zealand rower Logan Docherty won sportsman of the year. He was also unable to attend the awards, as he is based in Cambridge, training to compete at the World Under-23 Championships in Italy next month.
Cricket was a big winner on the night, claiming three awards. Former Hawke Cup coach Pete Cartwright won coach of the year, the Hawke Cup team was named team of the year, and Otago Sparks bowler Molly Loe claimed the junior sportswoman of the year title.
Basketballer Danyon Ashcroft won junior sportsman of the year, while Lucy Mavor (basketball and touch) and Mason Kingan (hockey and football) claimed the female and male emerging talent titles respectively.
The official in sport award went to Quinn Burge (touch), Marty McCone won the services to sport award for golf, and Rachel Stocks was named masters sportsperson of the year, for endurance riding.
A special presentation of the late Owen Gould’s green coat was also made at the awards.
The green coat, which Gould won for coaching Docherty to a New Zealand premier title, was presented to Oamaru Rowing Club coach Ivan Docherty by Gould’s wife Linda, and son Jeff.
Jeff said his father could not have won the accolade without his Oamaru ‘‘team’’, and it was fitting to give the coat to the rowing club.
‘‘That’s what he would want,’’ Jeff said.
Ivan thanked Gould’s family for the presentation and the green coat — just the second the Oamaru Rowing Club had received in 135 years — would be proudly hung at the club, alongside Rusty Robertson’s.
Gould was inspired by Robertson’s coat every day; now his coat would inspire the next generation, and Ivan paid tribute to the ‘‘great man’’ Gould was.
‘‘People like Owen are the fabric of our club. They are what bonds us together, they are the glue.
‘‘The loss of Owen was very tough on the club but I couldn’t have been more proud of the way the athletes and the club picked themselves up, showed the resilience and had a fantastic season in honour of Owen — one of the best ever.’’
Rally driver Hayden Paddon was the guest speaker for the evening.