Janina Kuzma Named Central Otago Sportsperson of the Year

Cromwell, New Zealand (11 April 2016) - Freeskier Janina Kuzma has been named Central Otago Sportsperson of the Year for the second year in a row. The Sports Awards, held in Cromwell on Friday evening, celebrated athletes' achievements for the 2015 sporting year. Janina was also named Senior Sportswoman of the Year. Para-snowboarder Carl Murphy was named senior Sportsman of the Year and freeskier Beau-James Wells was named Junior Sportsman of the Year.

"I am incredibly honoured to receive this award and be named the Central Otago Senior Sportswoman of the Year, and the overall Supreme Winner, for the second time running – especially with so many amazing athletes up for nomination,” Janina says.

She achieved some of the best results of her career to date during the 2015 northern and southern hemisphere competition seasons.  

By the end of the northern hemisphere season Janina had claimed the overall Sprint US Grand Prix series title, finished in second place overall on the FIS Freeski World Cup tour, second on the AFP World Tour in women’s halfpipe and fifth at X Games. Back home in New Zealand she took out second place in the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup Halfpipe event at Audi quattro Winter Games NZ and first place at The North Face Freeski Open of NZ halfpipe. In December 2015 she placed fourth in freeski halfpipe at the Dew Tour.

Para-snowboarder Carl Murphy started off his 2015 season winning World Cup gold in the new Paralympic discipline of banked slalom in Canada in January. He also took out World Cup bronze in the boardercross. Carl was invited to compete at the X Games at the end of the January. In a nail biting finals race and testament to Carl’s competitive nature he launched over the finish line and claimed the silver medal. Unfortunately he sustained an injury to his knee in the process which put him out of action for the remainder of the 2015 NZ season. 

2015 was also an outstanding year for freeskier Beau-James Wells. Beau defended his Junior World Championship title in freeski halfpipe at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Junior World Ski Championships in March and also won the silver medal in the slopestyle.

Competing on his home turf at Cardrona Alpine Resort in July he won both the slopestyle and halfpipe events at the International Ski Federation Continental Cup. At The North Face Freeski Open of NZ in August Beau finished second in Halfpipe and seventh in Slopestyle. 

Beau rounded out the year with a career-best result finishing second in men's superpipe at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, USA. In a field stacked with Olympians and World Champions only the Sochi Olympic gold medallist David Wise could better Beau’s score.

Snow Sports NZ was proud to have 10 athletes and coaches named as finalists for this year's Awards. Tom Willmott, Nils Coberger and Ben Adamas were finlasist in the Coach of the Year category, Finn Bilous for Junior Sportsman of the Year and Byron and Jossi Wells for Senior Sportsman of the Year.