The WBO World Heavyweight Champion boxer Joseph Parker is the only non-Olympian to be up for Sportsman of the Year, where he will compete against rower Mahe Drysdale, shot putter Tom Walsh and runner Nick Willis. RNZ News
Leaving the right ones out?
By Roger Childs
The Halberg Awards selectors have a habit of getting things wrong. Their worst mistake was to give the All Whites, Team of the Year and the Supreme Award in 2010, when they couldn’t even win a match in the World Cup.
Now with their selection of finalists in the Sportsman category, only one out of the four is the best in the world. That is Mahe Drysdale, who won single sculls gold in Rio by a coat of shellac. So he must win the Men’s award.
However two men who are the best in the world – Beauden Barrett and Liam Malone – are not on the short-list.
Drysdale hands down
Mahe Drysdsale showed that he was the world’s best single sculler by winning Olympic gold.
Nick Willis was a bronze medallist in the 1500m; a creditable effort but that can’t compare with Drysdale.
Tom Walsh was also a bronze medallist at Rio and had two Diamond League victories in the shot put. However the Olympics were the acid test in 2016 and although he did well, he came up short.
Joseph Parker narrowly won one of the world boxing titles late in the year to plenty of fanfare. Does this make him the best heavyweight in the world? No: the top three ranking authorities place him 5th, 6th and 7th on the planet.
Not a year for rugby
It’s obvious a year for Olympians to clean up the awards, and not rugby players.
Amazingly, the best rugby team in the world – the All Blacks – doesn’t feature, and neither does the International Rugby Board Player of the Year: Beauden Barrett.
The Hurricanes fly half should have been in the Sportsman of the Year short list.
The amazing Liam Malone
However, the stand-out sportsman of 2016 was Liam Malone.
In the Rio Paralympics he won
~ silver in the T44 100m
~ gold in the T44 200m
~ gold in the T44 400m.
In the 200m and 400m he also broke the Paralympics records of the infamous Oscar Pistorius.
He will probably win the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year award, narrowly ahead of swimmer Sophie Pascoe, but he should be the number one man.
In his chosen sport, Liam Malone is the world’s best in two events. Mahe Drysdale can’t match that.
However Drysdale is a shoo-in for Sportsman of the Year, because the amazing Malone wasn’t nominated.