I’m a great admirer of the fantastic
work carried out under the Halberg banner, but I have to
say I feel uneasy about the latest category introduced recently
by the Halberg Trust.
At this year’s prestigious Halberg award dinner the
inaugural Disabled Sportsperson of the Year award is up
In my association with the
Paralympics all the athletes I came across were a very proud
bunch who worked hard at achieving their goals. Their focus
was to develop their natural skills which would, hopefully,
carry them to a podium finish.
They did not deny they had a disability, they just accepted
it as part of who they were.
Jess Hamill, NZ shotput competitor
I’m fully aware that the winner of this award is eligible
for the supreme Halberg Award but is this new category really
necessary? After all in 1983 archer Neroli Fairhall and more
recently swimmer Sophie Pascoe -2008 and 2009 have made it
into the finals of the sportswoman’s category, at previous
With the push for more recognition of athletes, who just happened
to have a disability, this award seems a step back into the
past, to me, promoting separatism rather than integration.
One of the highlights of my sporting career was listening
to the great man himself, Sir Murray Halberg, who gave an
inspiring talk to the New Zealand team just prior to our departure
to the Sydney Paralympics, in 2000. I was so impressed with
him reminiscing over that wonderful 5,000 metre race he run
for gold at the 1960’s Rome Olympics. The most impressive
aspect of his speech was his obvious emotion in his voice
as he relived that day, forty years on.
In my opinion that’s what we all should be aiming for.
One magical day where all our hard work turns to gold and
this can be achieved at the Olympics, Paralympics or any other
world class sporting event.
As I say it’s only my opinion but I have doubts that
this new award reflects that ambition
Ross Flood email@example.com