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Good to highlight sporting excellence

Opinion Piece

Good to highlight sporting excellence

Excitement is building as our fittest, fastest and most talented athletes go head-to-head across all codes at the Bronwyn Kay Sporting Excellence Awards tonight.

Here at The Herald we’re conscious we were party to arguably putting a bit of a dampener on the event right on the eve of it, with yesterday’s back-page lead story “Club feels it has been snubbed”.

But Horouta Waka Hoe have a good case, don’t they? The club sent a team to the Va’a World Sprint Championships in Tahiti last year where they won five gold, six silver and two bronze medals, and were named world club of the year.

On the face of it, the fact they did not register as a finalist for club of the year locally seems incongruous.

Horouta were a finalist locally last year, when they had again won the national club title for their sport. This year they go one better, and miss out on the list of local finalists.

While Horouta feel like they have been snubbed, they have raised the issue publicly because they want sporting excellence on the world stage to get better recognition for the clubs involved. They have called on Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti to reconsider the club component of the awards — suggesting it be slpit into two categories so elements such as membership growth, management of facilities and sporting results are not all wrapped up in the same section.

It is worth noting too that there is already a separate project-based community impact award. Has the emphasis for the club award gone a bit far in that direction?

The four components of the club award are listed as: improvements made over the past 12 months; the club’s impact on the community; effectiveness of managing members and volunteers (eg upskilling and recruitment), facilities and finances; performance/results — local, regional, national and international.

Obviously a highly successful club can struggle in the first component, creams the fourth, and should score well in the middle two — the third especially; you don’t win accolades on the international stage if your back-office work isn’t sound as well.

Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti chief executive Stefan Pishief rose admirably to the challenge of this awkard conversation on the eve of the awards. He also said the categories, critera and weighting of components would be reviewed, because that’s just good practice.

Sports awards tend to attract complaints about who winners and finalists are, or are not. But, overall, it’s a good thing to highlight sporting excellence, right?