Neiufi nominated for Halberg award

Olympian Tupou Neiufi, from the Howick Pakuranga Swimming Club, is a nominee for the ISPS Handa Halberg Awards. Photo ODT

Paralympic gold medal-winning swimmer Tupou Neiufi, who trains at Howick Pakuranga Swimming Club, is among 79 nominees for the Halberg Awards.

Neiufi, 20, who won NZ’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in August, is one of 11 athletes nominated in the ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Team of the Year category.

The Halberg Foundation said 79 nominations have been submitted from national sports organisations and an independent nominations board for the 59th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards.

Created by Olympic gold medallist Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ) in 1963 to honour and celebrate sporting excellence, the awards are the major fundraiser for the Halberg Foundation – the charity he founded which aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled young New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation.

An independent nominations board, comprising respected individuals from the sports sector, has confirmed the nominations in six categories.  The winners will be announced at the awards at Spark Arena, Auckland, on Wednesday February 23.

The nominations come from 24 sporting codes for achievements within the last two years (December 1, 2019 to November 30, 2021).  This is a change from the standard 12 months due to the impact of Covid-19 on global sporting competitions with Halberg hosting a Decade Champion ceremony instead in March 2021.

Other nominees in the ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Team of the Year category are Anna Grimaldi (Para athletics), Danielle Aitchison (Para athletics), Emma Foy & Hannah van Kampen (Para cycling), Holly Robinson (Para athletics), Lisa Adams (Para athletics), Nicole Murray (Para cycling), Sarah Ellington (Para cycling), Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming), and Will Stedman (Para athletics).