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Halberg Awards honour sporting and sport leadership achievements
The 53rd Halberg Awards have seen Brendon McCullum presented with the Sport New Zealand Leadership Award and Kane Williamson and Lydia Ko recognised for their outstanding achievements as the High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.
Commenting on the recognition for McCullum for his outstanding achievements, Sport New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin said he had excelled as an inspirational sports leader, evidenced by his actions and deeds both on and off the field.
Miskimmin stated “Brendon has proved a visionary leader whose infectious enthusiasm has been inspirational for all those around him.
“His goodwill, compassion and sportsmanship have earned high praise internationally and he has marshalled his team, through his outstanding leadership qualities, in some challenging times and led them to consistent success.
“Over the years Brendon has displayed all the virtues of sportsmanship that New Zealanders hold dear. He has led by example, often displaying courage under fire. He has been humble in victory and gracious in defeat. ”
In an outstanding career for the Black Caps, McCullum, who is due to play his 101st and final Test Match in Christchurch later this week, has excelled in all three formats of the game.
During a 14-year international career McCullum has scored 11 Test hundreds - including an historic first New Zealand Test triple century - and has accrued a world record total for international T20 runs scored.
Last year he memorably skippered New Zealand to their first ever World Cup Final and boasts the finest captaincy record in terms of his win/loss ratio in Black Caps history.
In 2015 he was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to cricket in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
HPSNZ Chief Executive Alex Baumann congratulated Williamson and Ko for their Halberg Awards honours.
Baumann says the pair are worthy recipients after excelling on the global stage throughout 2015, stating “both Kane Williamson and Lydia Ko have shown an ability to perform consistently at the very pinnacle of their respective sports and that is why they have been recognised with these awards.”
HPSNZ sponsors both the Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards at the annual Halberg Awards and Baumann says the winning pair have also proved exemplary ambassadors for New Zealand sport.
He added “Kane and Lydia, and all the finalists, have once again show what a proud sporting nation New Zealand is and how Kiwis consistently rise to the very top levels of international sport”.
“Our mission at HPSNZ is to help more Kiwis win on the world stage, and 2015 was a great year for that. It speaks volumes for the quality of our high performance system.”
Williamson enjoyed a magnificent year for the Black Caps scoring five Test centuries and three one-day international centuries and ended 2015 ranked the number one Test batsman in the world. During a stellar year he boasted a Test average of 90.15 from 16 innings, claimed a career best score of 242 not out and became the fastest ever Kiwi to achieve the milestone of 3000 Test runs.
Lydia Ko – still aged only 18 – enjoyed a magnificent 2015 in which she finished the year ranked the world’s number one female golfer.
She collected five LPGA titles and became the youngest ever winner of a women’s major by taking victory in the Evian Championship. Lydia also won the Race to CME Globe (the season-long points race) and was awarded the LPGA Tour Player of the Year award. It is the second successive HPSNZ Sportswoman of the Year Award for Ko.
Top image: Brendon McCullum
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