Champions all . . . Winners gather for the traditional group photo. Back, from left: North Otago cricketers Brad Fleming and Blake James, David Rush (masters sportsperson), Jeremy Smith, Steve Walker (disabled sportsperson), Chris Kauapa (emerging talent, male), Narcis Gherca, Iessha Mansfield; front, from left, Nic Loe (Stew Mitchell official in sport), Brylee More (junior sportswoman), guest speaker and New Zealand Paralympian Anna Grimaldi, Linda Duncan (mother of sportsperson of the year and supreme champion Courtney Duncan), Adair Craik (Denis Birtles Memorial services to sport).

Another fantastic year of sport was celebrated at the Waitaki Sports Awards at the Oamaru Opera House on Monday night. The district’s best and most promising athletes, teams and coaches were honoured at the Network Waitaki-sponsored event. Carol Edwards took along her camera, and Hayden Meikle wrapped up the winners.

Master coach . . . Narcis Gherca was a popular back-to-back winner of the coach of the year award. The Romanian expatriate produced another series of stunning results with his Oamaru swimmers, culminating in the top ranking at the South Island junior festival. One of his talented youngsters, Iessha Mansfield, was named emerging talent (female) of the year.
Smith senior . . . Jeremy Smith accepted the team of the year award on behalf of the outstanding North Otago cricketers, who won the Hawke Cup for just the second time in the history of the province. Smith’s younger brother, Nathan, was named junior sportsman of the year for his efforts with the New Zealand under-19 team and the Otago Volts.

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