High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) Chief Executive Alex Baumann has congratulated Kane Williamson and Lydia Ko for their outstanding achievement in being honoured as the HPSNZ Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively, at the 53rd Halberg Awards.
Baumann says the pair are worthy recipients after excelling on the global stage throughout 2015.
"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," says Baumann.
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.
"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.
53rd Halberg Award Winners
The full list of winners and finalists for the 53rd Halberg Awards:
- Halberg Award winner: All Blacks (Rugby)
- Microsoft Surface Team of the Year winner: All Blacks (Rugby)
- High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year winner: Kane Williamson (Cricket)
- High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year winner: Lydia Ko (Golf)
- Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year winner:Sophie Pascoe (Para-Swimming)
- SKY NEXT Emerging Talent winner: Eliza McCartney (Athletics).
- Coach of the Year winner: Steve Hansen (Rugby)
- Radio Sport Sporting Moment of the year winner: Grant Elliott (Cricket)
- Sport New Zealand Leadership Award: Brendon McCullum (Cricket)
- New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame induction: Lance O'Sullivan (Horseracing), Sir Don Rowlands (Rowing), Lesley Rumball (Netball) and Mark Sorenson (Softball).
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Ashley Taylor (Athletics)