Rower Genevieve Behrent was named the ILT Senior Sportsperson of the Year during the ILT Southland Sports Awards held tonight (June 9) in front of a capacity “Sold Out” crowd, at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill.
Behrent and Rebecca Scown were the first athletes in New Zealand Rowing history to contest more than one event at an Olympic Games; pairing up to win silver in the Women’s Elite Coxless Pair at the Rio Olympic Games and finishing eighth in the Elite Women’s Coxed Eight.
Rising Sevens star Alena Saili won the ILT Junior Sportsperson of the Year Award; recognising an outstanding year which saw her earn her place in the New Zealand Women’s Sevens team. Saili, 18, debuted for the national side in February this year.
She is also a member of the Southland Girls’ High School First XV which won the Team of the Year Award at the event. The team were crowned New Zealand Girls First XV Champions last year.
Karl Watson was named Coach of the Year after a year in which two of his athletes won gold and silver medals at the UCI Junior World Track Cycling Championships – Emma Cumming, who won gold in the team sprint and silver in the individual sprint) and Bradly Knipe, who won gold in the individual sprint and silver in the 1000m time trial.
Mike Hogan’s efforts as chairman of the Working Committee for the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, held in Invercargill, saw him named the Administrator of the Year.
Barbara Grieve won the Official of the Year award, after another year officiating for Olympic Weightlifting.
Cyclist Erin Criglington won the Masters Achievement of the Year award. Criglington won World Championship gold in the Individual Pursuit and in the Points Race, as well as three silver medals.
Services to Sport Awards were presented to four people who have a positive impact on their respective sports. They were presented to Richard Wilson (cricket), Donald Hay (rugby), Russell Everett (rowing) and Marita Soper (ice hockey).
The People’s Choice Award went to shearer Nathan Stratford, who won the Team World Championship title with Johnny Kirkpatrick at the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships.
The Mike Piper Trophy for integrity, commitment and excellence was awarded to skier Elizabeth Reid.
The night was a chance to celebrate and acknowledge Southland’s sporting talent, which included athletes, teams, coaches, administrators, officials and those who dedicate their time and effort to sport in the region.
Sport Southland acting chief executive Vanessa Hughey said the achievements recognised “the tireless effort people put into their sport”.