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Emotional Tribute For Tennis Stalwart Peter White

The third night of the 2020 ILT Southland Sports Awards included an emotional tribute to long-standing Southland tennis coach Peter White, along with the Southland Kia Team of the Year and Ricoh Southland Coach of the Year awards.

White was diagnosed with motor neurone disease earlier this year and died last weekend.

The 2020 Sport Southland Services to Sport recipient will be remembered as one of Southland tennis’ great contributors.

As Tennis Southland’s resident coach for 23 years White served up tennis in schools across the province, as well as selecting and coaching junior and senior teams at representative level.

Passionate about creating tennis opportunities for anyone wanting to pick up a racquet, White’s philosophy was developed during his time playing professionally and honed under the tutelage of a master coach in Sydney.

A strong foundation and an emphasis on having fun drove his approach to developing players.

He guided players including Taylor Allan, Damien McKenzie, Richard Mulvey and jessie Watson to national success, along with discovering and promoting Riki and Ben McLachlan, who would go onto college scholarships at Berkley University.

Another highlight from his career was being a driving force in Southland’s hosting of three Davis Cup ties between 2000 and 2004.

Wife Melissa Chilton said White was tremendously honoured to receive a Services to Sport award.

Melissa Chilton and daughter Emma White, who received the Sport Southland Services to Sport award on behalf of tennis stalwart Peter White.

The Southland Kia Team of the Year went to the Cycling Southland elite men’s team sprint combination of Nick Kergozou, Tom Sexton and Conor Shearing.

Despite being better known as endurance riders, this world class lineup defied a heavy programme to take out the elite men’s team sprint title at this year’s national championships.

The Ricoh Southland Coach of the Year continued a strong Awards week for athletics, with Chris Knight recognised for his feats both home and abroad.

Selected as both the coach and manager of the New Zealand team for the Pacific Games in Samoa, Knight’s talents as both a jumps and throwing technician continued to be recognised at the national level.

“It’s always a great time to be involved, working with that 12 to 19 age group,” Knight said.

“It’s always an honour, because you are not only shaping them as athletes, you are also having some influence over what their personality is.”

745: Ricoh Southland Coach of the Year Chris Knight. Photo: Sport Southland

Knight said Sam Colyer’s silver medal at the Oceania Championships, and the outstanding progression of Quinn Hartley, were highlights over the past year.

“There’s also many others that I’m working with who have done well at national championships, winning medals and it was a good effort all round really.”

Sport Southland hosts the ILT Southland Sports Awards on behalf of the Southland Amateur Sports Trust and is presenting the annual celebration online for the first time.

The penultimate night of the Awards will be presented on southlandtimes.co.nz from 7pm on Thursday night, with the Vodafone Junior Sportsperson of the Year and the final Sport Southland Services to Sport award for 2020.

Related: If you wish to attend Peter White’s funeral service you can read the notice in the link below:

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