Martin Devlin: Time for a refresh of the Halberg Awards

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Friday, 22 February 2019, 12:40PM

I wasn't going to talk about the Halbergs and my ongoing disappointment at both the judge's decisions and the pedestrian TV coverage.

Because what I think of the television presentation isn't really the point of these prestigious awards. And my opinion about who won and lost is as irrelevant as are all my opinions.

But heh, like this has ever stopped me before.

The Halbergs are not a television event. In fact, they are so drawn out, tedious, boring and tepid they make Brisbane vs CCM in the A-League a must-watch experience.

What could they do to make it more viewer friendly?

Shorten the whole thing by 2 hours for a start. Turn it into a fast-paced superbly edited video highlights package showcasing our very best, reviving memories of their magnificent achievements AND LEAVE IT AT THAT.

Because this night is, or rather should be, about the athletes and only the athletes.

It's about them rubbing shoulders, socialising and spending time with each other.

The rest of it is nothing but filling big black holes on tiresome TV.

And as for the judges, once again they totally miss the point.

Lisa Carrington, wonderful multiple Olympic & world champion that she is, should not have re-won Sportswoman of the Year.

The criteria, as idiotic as ever, demands that reward be given for world championship wins.

Problem with this is that sports like rowing, track cycling and canoeing have world champs every other month and, by definition, will always dominate.

The true WC of these sports is, in fact, the Olympics.

Everything else is a warm-up or build-up to that ultimate big show.

Which is why Zoi Sadowski-Synnott's bronze at the Winter Games was much more worthwhile.

No NZer is meant to climb that particular sporting summit. It's like Chris Wood scoring a dozen EPL goals. Just think for a second how many people are involved in those sports, how bitterly competitive they are worldwide and then how remarkable it is that someone from these far-flung shores over-achieves on that global scale.

And this without even mentioning Jonelle Price whose horsey exploits were equally outstanding.

Time for a refresh Halbergs.

Time to make these awards what they should be.

And time to start thinking about how to make them much better TV.

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