Swimming sensation Bobbi Gichard of Napier Girls’ High School has taken out the Supreme Award at the annual Westpac Hawke’s Bay Secondary School Sport Awards.
Over 70 secondary school students from throughout Hawke’s Bay competed in over 22 categories at the Westpac Secondary School Sports Awards at the Municipal Theatre in Napier on Monday evening.
Gichard, at just 15 years of age, is aiming to swim at the Rio Olympics next year and is just 0.2 seconds off the Olympic qualifying times for the 100 and 200 metre backstroke events.
The Napier Girls’ High School student was awarded the hotly contested Shoe Clinic Female Sportsperson of the Year Award.
Other big winners on the evening included EIT Male Sportsperson of the Year winner Marino Mikaele-Tuu of Hastings Boys’ High School for his outstanding year on the rugby field, and ZM Disabled Sportsperson of the Year winner Kate McKelvie of Napier Girls’ High School for her achievements in the pool.
“Hawke’s Bay is a hotbed of talented youngsters representing both the region and New Zealand and Bobbi was deserving of the supreme award,” Sport Hawke’s Bay regional sports director Junior Armstrong said.
“Bobbi has had a fantastic year and she could well be representing New Zealand at the Rio Olympics while still being a secondary school student.”
The Sport Hawke’s Bay awards continue to be a celebration of sport and highlight the high calibre and various achievements of a number of students from throughout the region.
“We had many high achievers across all categories, so the judges had some tough calls to make,” Armstrong said.
In the last year Gichard has notched up two golds and a bronze at the World Junior Championships, a silver at the Youth Commonwealth Games and recorded personal bests in both the 100m and 200m backstroke events.
The awards also acknowledged the contributions of volunteers involved in secondary school sport with Steve Armon of Havelock North High School receiving the Furnware Coach of the Year award. Armon coached the school’s orienteering team to be crowned World Schools’ Champions in the Turkey competition earlier in the year.
The awards evening also celebrated those who have been influential through their service to secondary school sport. These six recipients were recognised through the Hawkes Bay Today Service to Sport award and included Grant Gilbert and Rick Ellis from Lindisfarne College, Del Whyte and Peter McGlashen from Napier Boys’ High School and David Tait from Kiwi Adventure Trust.
Gichard also became the first Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sport Trust scholarship recipient. The trust is the major funder of the STARS fund, which is governed by Sport Hawke’s Bay and works to provide funding support for athletes travelling overseas to represent New Zealand. Gichard received $2000 from trust co-chair Damon Harvey at the awards.
Sport Hawke’s Bay also recognised Anne and Ross Brown of Napier Boys’ High School, who have made a lasting contribution to not only sport at the school but for sport across the region in a special presentation on the evening.
Special guests at the awards were Magpies star first five Ihaia West and New Zealand sevens star Gillies Kaka, both speaking about what it takes to be successful both on and off the sporting field.