10 Jan 2019

Halberg finalists confirmed

1:20 pm on 10 January 2019

The finalists for the 56th annual Halberg awards have been announced with Lisa Carrington, Tom Walsh and Sophie Pascoe headlining their respective fields.

Lisa Carrington cradles her Supreme Halberg Award.

Lisa Carrington won the Supreme Halberg title last year. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The awards recognise New Zealand's top sporting achievements of 2018 and will be held in Auckland on 21 February.

Carrington, the 2016 supreme Halberg Award winner is up against squash player Joelle King, eventer Jonelle Price and snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synott.

Carrington won a gold and three silver medals at the Canoe Sprint World Championships last year while King won the prestigious Hong Kong Open.

Jonelle Price became the first New Zealand woman to win the Badminton Horse Trials while Sadowski-Synott claimed bronze at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Walsh, the 2017 Sportsman of the Year, is up against freeskier Nico Porteous, Supercars champion Scott Mclaughlin and 2013 winner Scott Dixon.

Walsh won gold in the men's shot put at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast last year, as well as the World Indoor Championship.

New Zealand shot put champion and Commonwealth Game gold medallist Tom Walsh. Atheltics. Carrara Stadium. Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia. Monday 9 April 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Tom Walsh won gold at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz Photosport Ltd 2018

Porteous won bronze at the Winter Olympics while McLaughlin won his first Australian Supercars title.

Dixon made the finalists after claiming his fifth IndyCar Championship title in the US.

In the Para Athlete/Team of the Year category, Sophie Pascoe is vying for her fourth title following her haul of five gold and two silvers at the Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships and Commonwealth Games.

She's up against paralympic skier Adam Hall, who won gold and bronze at the Winter Olympics.

Paralympic success for the likes of swimmer Sophie Pascoe could finally reap the same funding benefits as Olympic athletes.

Sophie Pascoe is in the running for her fourth Para Athlete title at the Halberg Awards. Photo: Photosport

Fellow skier Corey Peters is also a finalist after winning bronze in South Korea.

Para canoe racer Scott Martlew, who earned a silver medal at the Canoe Sprint World Championships, is also a finalist.

In the team of the year category are the Black Ferns sevens, All Blacks sevens, Under 17 women's football team, women's Black Sticks and women's kayaking team.

Black Ferns Sevens win in Dubai 2018.

The Black Ferns sevens won the World Cup sevens title and Commonwealth Games gold last year. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Sticks claimed gold at last year's Commonwealth Games and silver at the Hockey World League.

The Under 17 women's football team became the first New Zealand side to win a medal at a World Cup after claiming bronze late last year in an inspirational display.

Both the All Blacks sevens and Black Ferns sevens won gold in the Commonwealth Games and World Cup in San Francisco in June.

The New Zealand women's kayaking team are a finalist for claiming silver at the Canoe Sprint World Championships.

Lisa Carrington's mentor Gordon Walker is up for New Zealand Coach of the Year - the title he won in 2017.

He's up against Black Ferns sevens coach Allan Bunting and All Blacks sevens coach Clark Laidlaw.

Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt achieved what few others have managed, back-to-back wins over the All Blacks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Also in the running are the under 17 women's football coach Leon Birnie and Ireland rugby head coach Joe Schmidt - winner of the Coach of the Year title at the World Rugby awards.

Scmidt coached Ireland to their win over the All Blacks in Dublin and the Six Nations title in Northern Hemisphere rugby.

White Ferns all-rounder Amelia Kerr is up for the Emerging Talent award alongside sailor Josh Armit, swimmer Lewis Clareburt, Under 17 footballer Anna Leat and shot-putter Maddison-Lee Wesche.