Dame Valerie Adams misses out on top sportswoman prize at Halberg Awards

March 25, 2021

By Elijah Fa'afiu - elijah.fa'afiu@pmn.co.nz

Dame Valerie Adams missed out on adding another award to her collection at last night’s 58th Halberg Awards.

Instead of looking back over the last year, which was heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the best of New Zealand sport over the last decade was recognised.

Adams was up for the Sportswoman of the Decade award alongside golfer Lydia Ko and canoe racer Lisa Carrington, but it was latter who ultimately took the top prize.

The three sportswomen had dominated the 2010s decade, with Adams having won Sportswoman of the Year from 2010-2012.

Although Adams wasn’t at the awards, former All Black La’auli Sir Michael Jones had some strong praise for the shot-putter.

“What Dame Valerie’s done for athletics and for Pasifika is still huge in my heart and my soul because it means so much to us that she was an Olympic champion, she’s a world champion, she’s a Commonwealth champion.”

Other Pasifika individual athletes who were nominated were swimmer Gabrielle Fa’amausili and shot-putter Maddison-Lee Wesche, who were in the running for Emerging Talent Athlete of the Decade.

However, both athletes lost to golfer Lydia Ko.

La’auli Sir Michael Jones says the past year has been tough for many New Zealand athletes.

“It’s really made it difficult for every Kiwi to be engaged and even our national sports people and our elite athletes.

“I think it does show the power of sports that we can still come together and there’s some great things we’ve celebrated recently like the America’s Cup.”

La’auli listed a number of sporting moments which stood out over the last decade, with one moment in particular being very dear to him.

“Obviously the All Blacks winning the World Cup. I was there in 2011 and that was special because it had taken a while. Never seen so many grown men cry that night so that sticks out for me.

“Even the fact that the Silver Ferns have done well for our women's sport, the Black Ferns have done well for our women’s sport and what they’ve achieved is huge too and of course the America's Cup recently was pretty special.”

Other Pasifika sporting figures seen at the Halberg Awards include former All Blacks Pita Alatini and Keven Mealamu and former Tonga and New Zealand rugby league international Duane Mann.

Halberg Award winners:

Halberg Award Decade Champion (Supreme) - Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (rowing)

NZ's Favourite Sporting Moment of the Decade - Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan (rowing)

Team of the Decade - Eric Murray and Hamish Bond (rowing)

Sportswoman of the Decade - Lisa Carrington (canoe racing)

Sportsman of the Decade - Richie McCaw (rugby)

Coach of the Decade - Gordon Walker (canoe racing)

Para Athlete of the Decade - Sophie Pascoe (swimming)

Emerging Talent Athlete of the Decade - Lydia Ko (golf)