15 Jun 2009
The Supreme Award – NZU Sportsperson of the Year went to business student and Kiwi League star Jerome Ropati and the NZU Maori Sportsperson of the Year, communications student and Paralympics swimmer Cameron Leslie.
Ropati was one of eight finalists in the Supreme Award category which also included fellow AUT students Paralympics gold medallist Cameron Leslie and Surf Life Saver and current world record holder Michael Buck.
Mt Albert resident, Ropati says he’s pretty excited about the win as it’s the first major academic award he’s ever won.
A key player in the Warriors drive to the 2008 finals, he is well remembered for his game winning try in the final of the Kiwis’ 2008 World Cup campaign.
Paralympics athlete Cameron Leslie was awarded the NZU Maori Sportsperson of the Year award in a category dominated by AUT student athletes, with Black Ferns, Teresa Te Tamaki and Football Ferns, Emma Kete nominated alongside Leslie. Cameron spends the university term in the city but calls Waitakere home.
Fellow student and Helensville resident, Shannon Foreman, was awarded the Distinguished Performance Award for his outstanding display in kickboxing. An award for athletes who complete in sports currently unsanctioned in New Zealand.
Bruce Meyer, sport development manager at AUT puts the university’s success down to its unique programmes and committed staff who prepare student-athletes for life after sport, while still allowing them to pursue their sporting goals.Eleven AUT students were awarded Blues, with three receiving a further special award for excellence in their chosen sports which included football, hockey, rugby, rugby league, swimming, surf life saving and taekwondo.
The 11 AUT winners were among 39 athletes to receive an award. All recipients have represented their region or country at the highest level while studying at AUT.The NZU Blues are awarded each year to recognise New Zealand’s top University athletes, honouring their sporting and academic achievements.
For further information and contact details of the winners please contact:
Bruce Meyer, Sport Development Manager AUT University - 09 921 9736 / 021 401 647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Georgina Hammond, Communications Manager, 021 633 272
For further information on the 2008 NZU Blues and images of the winners, please visit www.universitysport.org.nz