Olympian Westley Gough won the Central Hawke's Bay Sportsperson of the Year Award for the fourth time in nine years last night.
His parents Rod and Wendy shared the trophy collecting on Gough's behalf as he was unable to be among the record sellout crowd for the event of 480 at the AW Parsons Stadium in Waipukurau because of his Tour of Southland commitments. Before the Goughs collected the premier award they collected the Senior Sportsperson Award for the two-time Olympian.
Gough, who previously collected the premier award in 2004,'05 and'08, returned home from the London Olympics with his second team pursuit bronze medal at that level. He also collected two bronzes at the world track championships - one in the team pursuit and another in the individual pursuit.
Gough was also a member of the Kiwi team pursuit team which finished third at the Beijing Track World Cup and at the London Track World Cup. His most memorable year on the international stage continued when he won a road event in France.
At the national championships, Gough won silver medals in the elite individual pursuit and points races. His cousin, Regan Gough, won the Young Male Sportsperson Award for the third consecutive year.
Among Regan's highlights were a general classification second placing in the July Canberra tour where he also won the King of the Mountain title and finished second in the criterium. The New Zealand under-17 representative will return to Australia later this month for the Oceania track championships.
Regan won gold in the under-17 team pursuit at the national championships where he also won silver in the criterium and bronze in the scratch race.
Promising Hawke's Bay rugby referee Stuart Catley won the official award for the second consecutive year. Ranked among the province's top four referees, Catley was an assistant referee at the International Sevens in Wellington and was in the Hurricanes zone squad for the third year. Catley also controlled the Hurricanes' under-20 Heartland final and was an assistant referee for three of the Magpies' ITM Cup games.
The Speight's Ale House Otane Force netball team took home the team award for the second consecutive year. Otane won the Hawke's Bay Premier League for the third consecutive year and seventh time in 10 years.
Unbeaten in 2012, Otane also won the Eastern Top Club title for the third consecutive year.
In a first for the awards, softball legend Rhonda Hira became the inaugural inductee for the CHB Sports Hall of Fame. The former White Sox star who started her career as a 9-year-old playing for Tukituki at Russell Park, Waipukurau, was inducted into the International Softball Federation's Hall of Fame in 2010.
Mrs Hira played more than 300 games for the White Sox in a career which spanned three decades and included five world championships.
During the emotional presentation, her father and Tukituki Softball Club stalwart Ray Squire made her a life member of the club. "In all my years of coaching, including basketball, rugby and softball, she was the most exceptional sportsperson I have had," Mr Squire said. "She is one out of the box - she had the X-factor."
Valerie Adams, the Olympic, world and Commonwealth champion was last night's guest speaker and the reason for the record crowd.
CHB Sports Hall of Fame Inductee: Rhonda Hira (Softball).
WHK Administrator: Justine Welch (Takapau Rugby Club).
Hawke's Bay Today Official: Stuart Catley (Rugby).
Sloan's Saddlery/CHB Party Hire Service: Gary Sullivan (Boxing).
CHB Physiotherapy Coach: Aidan Withington (CHB Swimming Club).
Subway Waipukurau Team: Speight's Ale House Otane Force (Netball).
Aqua Management Club: Onga Onga Golf Club.
AMP Walker Mackie Master Sportsperson: Paul Van Beers (Fence Building).
Central FM Young Female Sportsperson: Emily Fraser (Equestrian).
Wright Wool Ltd Young Male Sportsperson:Regan Gough (Cycling).
Ruahine Motors Ford Senior Sportsperson: Westley Gough (Cycling).
The Festival CHB Excellence in Performing Arts:Nicole Harvey (Highland Dancing).
CHB Primary Schools' Sports Academy Norm Hewitt Scholarship Winners: Kate Hewitt (Flemington School), James Mikkelson (Pukehou School), Alexandra Coddington (Flemington School).
Jamieson Davies Joinery Plus Ltd Encouragement Award: Kieran Kruger (Surf Lifesaving).
CHB Mail Premier Sportsperson of the Year: Westley Gough (Cycling).