LISTEN ABOVE AS TOM WALSH SPEAKS TO RADIO SPORT BREAKFAST
Kiwi shot put star Tom Walsh has claimed New Zealand's top sports honours for 2018 at the 56th Halberg Awards in Auckland tonight.
Walsh collected the Sportsman of the Year trophy for the second consecutive year before being presented the supreme Halberg Award by Rob Waddell at the ceremony at Spark Arena.
The 26-year-old was recognised for his outstanding achievements last year including victories at the World Indoor Championship, Commonwealth Games and Diamond League events. His win saw him edge out freeskier Nico Porteous and motor racers Scott McLaughlin and Scott Dixon to claim the Sportsman category.
Walsh paid tribute to the inspiring work done by the Halberg Foundation during his acceptance speech for the supreme award.
"What an absolute honour," he said.
"I really didn't think I was in with a shot. The Halberg Foundation does some wonderful work and we're all enjoying seeing the kids up there that give us ... I'm a little bit lost for words ... that give us the courage to really do what we do because it's tough for them.
"But if they can do it we can all do it."
Ten awards and a Sports Hall of Fame inductee were presented during the evening which was hosted by the Halberg Foundation and served as a fundraiser for the charity established by Olympic athletics champion Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ).
Olympic gold medal winning canoer Lisa Carrington swept the Sportswoman of the Year award for her third year running.
The 29-year-old's three-peat comes after she bagged a gold and three silver medals at the Canoe Sprint World Championships, while she beat out rival nominees squash player Joelle King, horse rider Jonelle Price and snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.
Alpine skier Adam Hall won the Para Athlete/Team of the Year after claiming gold and bronze at the Paralympic Winter Games. The 31-year-old headed off Para swimmer Sophie Pascoe, Para canoer Scott Martlew and fellow Para alpine skier Corey Peters.
The Black Ferns Sevens claimed the Team of the Year honours following their Sevens Rugby World Cup win and gold medal triumph at the Commonwealth Games. Their twin successes saw them beat out strong challenges from the New Zealand Under 17 Women's football side, New Zealand Women's Kayaking team, Black Sticks Women's hockey and All Blacks Sevens.
Carrington's treble was matched by her mentor Gordon Walker who topped the Coach of the Year for a third-straight year, beating out Black Ferns Sevens coach Alan Bunting, All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw, New Zealand Under 17 Women's football coach Leon Birnie, and Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt.
Shot putter Maddison-Lee Wesche won the Emerging Talent award, with the Under 20 IAAF World Championship gold medal winner named ahead of sailor Josh Armit, White Fern Amelia Kerr, swimmer Lewis Clareburt and football's Anna Leat.
Young Football Ferns goalkeeper Anna Leat was chosen as New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment of 2018 – the only award voted on by the public.
During the ceremony, former Black Fern Dr Farah Palmer was presented with the Leadership Award, and former supreme Halberg Awards winner and discus throwing champion Beatrice Faumuina was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.
Barry Hunt was also recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to athletics.
The full list of winners and finalists for the 56th Halberg Awards:
Halberg Award winner:
Tom Walsh (athletics)
Finalists: Lisa Carrington (canoe racing), Adam Hall (Para alpine skiing), Black Ferns Sevens (rugby union).
New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year winner: Lisa Carrington (canoe racing)
Finalists: Joelle King (squash), Jonelle Price (equestrian), Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snowboarding).
Sportsman of the Year winner: Tom Walsh (athletics)
Finalists: Nico Porteous (freeskiing), Scott Dixon (motorsport), Scott McLaughlin (motorsport).
Para Athlete/Team of the Year winner: Adam Hall (Para alpine skiing)
Finalists: Corey Peters (Para alpine skiing), Scott Martlew (Para canoe racing), Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming).
Team of the Year winner: Black Ferns Sevens (rugby union)
Finalists: All Blacks Sevens (rugby union), NZ Football Under 17 Women (football), NZ Women's Kayaking Team (canoe racing), Vantage Black Sticks Women (hockey).
Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year winner: Gordon Walker (canoe racing)
Finalists: Allan Bunting (rugby union), Clark Laidlaw (rugby union), Joe Schmidt (rugby union), Leon Birnie (football).
Emerging Talent winner: Maddison-Lee Wesche (athletics)
Finalists: Amelia Kerr (cricket), Anna Leat (football), Josh Armit (yachting), Lewis Clareburt (swimming).
New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment winner: Anna Leat (football)
Finalists: Nico Porteous and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snowsports), David Liti (weightlifting), Kelly Brazier (rugby union), Black Sticks Women (hockey), Amelia Kerr (cricket), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors rugby league), Auckland Rugby (rugby union), Black Caps (cricket), Anna Leat (football).
Sport New Zealand Leadership Award winner: Dr Farah Palmer (rugby union)
Hall of Fame inductee: Beatrice Faumuinā (athletics)
Lifetime Achievement Award winner: Barry Hunt (athletics)