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Olympians dominate Halberg finalists

07:03 Tue Jan 1 2013
Halberg Awards finalists Richie McCaw and Lisa Carrington (Getty)
Halberg Awards finalists Richie McCaw and Lisa Carrington (Getty)

New Zealand's 2012 Olympic champions are dominating the finalists announced for the Halberg Awards.

All Black captain Richie McCaw and amateur golfer Lydia Ko are the only non-Olympian finalists for top sportsman and sportswoman of the year.

McCaw is joined by rowing's single sculls gold medallist Mahe Drysdale; equestrian Andrew Nicholson, who was part of the bronze medal-winning equestrian team and finished 2012 as the number one ranked eventing rider; and bronze medal-winning cyclist Simon van Velthooven.

While Ko's category contains shot put gold medallist Valerie Adams, who won the category in 2012; BMX Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker; and gold medal-winning canoeist Lisa Carrington.

Olympians also feature strong in the team of the year category with rowing gold medallists, men's pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond and men's double scullers Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen; and sailing gold medal-winning duo Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie and 49er silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

The All Blacks, winner's last year, are also nominated.

Paralympic Games 2012 champions dominate the finalists for disabled sportsperson of the year with para-swimming champions, Sophie Pascoe, who won three gold and three silver medals; and gold medallists Mary Fisher and Cameron Leslie. They are joined by gold, silver and bronze medal winning para-cyclist, Phillipa Gray.

Ko, 15, is also nominated for the emerging talent award, along with cross country mountain Biker, Anton Cooper; track cyclist Dylan Kennett; and laser radial sailor Andrew McKenzie.

The Olympic sailing teams' coach Nathan Handley, joins rowing coaches Calvin Ferguson and Richard Tonks, and canoeing coach Gordon Walker as coach of the year finalists.

The winners for the 50th annual Halberg Awards will be announced on February 14.

A 30-strong judging panel comprising media representatives, athletes and coaches decides the overall winners.