Lisa Adams’ para shot put career just keeps getting better.
A meteoric rise in the sport saw her claim gold and break her world record at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai in November, just 18 months after taking up the sport.
Now, her achievements have been recognised by the judges of New Zealand’s most prestigious sporting awards, named as a finalist in the ISPS Handa Para athlete/team of the Year award at the 57th Halberg Awards.
Following in the footsteps of her famous siblings, she is one of 26 finalists, selected after judges reviewed 70 nominations from national sporting organisations to create the shortlist, and is eligible for the Supreme Award which her sister Valerie has won three times. Lisa’s NBA superstar brother Steven Adams has also been a finalist at the awards previously.
Adams, who has left hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that affects the movement and growth of muscles on the limbs of one side of her body said when training for shot put her focus was on improving and being the best she could be at competitions but being recognised for the Halbergs was a nice bonus.
“It was an honour just to be nominated in the first place – to be a finalist is pretty cool as well and being up against these others who are the best in their fields.”
She has been to the awards before, as a guest during Valerie’s wins. Fittingly it was her sister who coached her to the heights she reached in 2019.
“It’s cool that I’m the third sibling in our family to be nominated for a Halberg Award, that in itself is pretty cool I reckon. I’m looking forward to going to something that she’s dominated – she was nominated for coach as well and I was more excited about that than my own nomination.”
Adams is one of many Bay of Plenty athletes among the finalists.
Rotorua’s UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, Black Caps captain Kane Williamson, who led his team to the ICC Cricket World Cup final and Mount Maunganui motorsport star Scott McLaughlin are in the running for Sportsman of the Year where they will go up against the defending champion shot putter Tom Walsh.
Reigning Sportswoman of the year Whakatāne’s Lisa Carrington is up for the award again after another outstanding year in which she won Canoe Sprint World Championship golds in the K1 500m and K1 200m.
Bay of Plenty’s Noeline Taurua is a finalist in the Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year award after she turned around a struggling Silver Ferns side and led them to their first Netball World Cup win since 2003.
Meanwhile, after claiming the World Sevens Series title the Mount Maunganui-based Black Ferns Sevens are finalists in the ISPS Handa Team of the Year award which they also won in 2019.
Other awards presented during the ceremony, being held on February 13, include; New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment (public vote category), Sport New Zealand Leadership, Lifetime Achievement and inductees into the Sports Hall of Fame.
57th ISPS Handa Halberg Awards finalists
ISPS Handa Team of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award)
Black Ferns Sevens (rugby)
Silver Ferns (netball)
Women’s Eight (rowing)
Women’s Double – Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue (rowing)
ISPS Handa Para athlete/team of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award)
Cameron Leslie (Para swimming, wheelchair rugby)
Emma Foy and Hannah van Kampen (Para cycling)
Lisa Adams (Para athletics)
Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming)
High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award)
Courtney Duncan (motorcycling)
Lisa Carrington (canoe racing)
Laura Langman (netball)
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snowboarding)
ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year (eligible for supreme Halberg Award)
Israel Adesanya (mixed martial arts)
Kane Williamson (cricket)
Scott McLaughlin (motorsport)
Tom Walsh (athletics)
Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year
Eugene Bareman (mixed martial arts)
Gary Hay (rowing)
Gordon Walker (canoe racing)
Noeline Taurua (netball)
Roly Crichton (Para swimming)
Sky Sport Emerging Talent
Alice Robinson (ski racing)
Erika Fairweather (swimming)
Laurence Pithie (cycling)
Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan (yachting)