Gold medallist to address sports awards ceremony

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by Claire Allison

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Dick Tayler will be guest speaker at this year’s Trust Aoraki South Canterbury Sports Awards.

Sport Canterbury regional office manager Shaun Campbell said the announcement carried added significance in a year when events had become so special, given the disruption of gatherings by Covid-19 last year.

The awards will be held on Friday, May 14, and will include a livestream option.

“The last 12 months have been extremely challenging for our community,” Mr Campbell said.

“We are grateful to have the support and time from this local champion.

“Dick has an amazing record as an athlete and is equally known for his ability to entertain a crowd.”

Born in Timaru in 1948, Tayler is best known for winning the 10,000m at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.

He won in a time of 27min 46.4sec, beating Dave Black of England by 2sec.

Tayler competed at the 1970 and 1974 Commonwealth Games, as well as the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

In the 2014 New Year Honours, Tayler was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to athletics.

In addition to Tayler’s address, next month’s awards ceremony will have honours presented across 10 categories, including coach, administrator, official, masters athlete, young sportsperson and para athlete.

There will also be the supreme award for South Canterbury sportsperson of the year.

The awards event is planned to accommodate up to 100 guests.

This format will allow the event to proceed at either Level 1 or Level 2.

Mr Campbell said that based on the experience of last year, event organising was about creating assurances and being prepared for changes in circumstances.

It was also about recognising the global audience for local events, which was confirmed last year when thousands more events were offered online.

Last year, more than 7500 guests attended the online Trust Aoraki South Canterbury Sports Awards, and Mr Campbell confirmed the feedback about the ceremony was overwhelmingly positive.

“Our aim is to make this iconic South Canterbury event accessible around the world.

“In 2020, we offered a recording of all award presentations, and the response was fantastic.

“We look forward this year to evolving this to include a livestreamed awards programme paired with a live, limited seating event on Friday, May 14.”