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Laureus World Sports Awards: Paralympian Nicole Murray only New Zealand nominee

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New Zealand Paralympian #222 and Waitomo local Nicole Murray, 31, has been nominated for an international sports award.

The Ngāhinapōuri School alumna is shortlisted for the Laureus World Sports Award in the category World Sportsperson with a Disability.

First held in 2000, the annual awards honour the greatest and most inspirational sporting achievements of the year.

Murray, a para cyclist coached by Damian Wiseman, had a breakout year in 2022, followed by a great 2023 season.

A left-hand amputee from a childhood accident, she competes in the C5 sports class.

Murray earned two gold and two silver medals at the Para-Cycling Road World Cup series in 2023 and went on to claim a world title at the Cycling World Championships, along with a silver and a bronze medal in the C5 Women’s classification.

She also set a new personal best time in the 3km Individual Pursuit of three minutes and 40.946 seconds.

Murray said she was stunned to be nominated for the World Sportsperson with a Disability Award.

“I can’t really comprehend it. It’s so, so cool.”

She is nominated alongside Italian Para swimmer Simone Barlaam, Dutch wheelchair tennis player Diede de Groot, Ukrainian Para swimmer Danylo Chufarov, German long-jumper Markus Rehm and Hungarian sprinter and long-jumper Luca Ekler.

Paralympian Nicole Murray is shortlisted for a prestigious Laureus World Sports Award. Photo / SWPix
Paralympian Nicole Murray is shortlisted for a prestigious Laureus World Sports Award. Photo / SWPix

As if being nominated wasn’t enough of an achievement, Murray is the only Kiwi nominated in any category.

The nomination comes hot on the heels of her win at the 2023 Para Sport Awards, where she was recognised as the Female Summer Athlete of the Year.

She has also just been selected for the 2024 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships later this month and has her eyes firmly set on the Paris Olympics.

Paralympics New Zealand chief executive Greg Warnecke said Murray’s recognition was one of the many reasons for New Zealanders to be excited about supporting Paralympians and Para athletes on their journey to Paris 2024.

“Nicole is an incredibly talented athlete and truly deserves this global recognition. Inspirational performances like Nicole’s can change lives. I am thrilled about the impact that this Laureus nomination will bring, and the people who will experience the power of Para sport as a result,” Warnecke said.

“Nicole’s achievements reflect the exceptional talent in Para sport in New Zealand. The upcoming Paris 2024 Paralympic Games promise to be a captivating journey for everyone: athletes, spectators, fans, commercial partners, and New Zealand overall.”

This year’s Laureus World Sports Awards will be presented in Madrid, Spain on April 22.

This is the second year in a row where only one New Zealander has been nominated with Paralympian #164 Cameron Leslie the shortlisted in the awards last year.

Past Laureus winners from New Zealand include Dan Carter and (separately) the All Blacks in 2016, Sir Peter Blake in 2002, and Levi Sherwood in 2011.

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