Wellington Phoenix forward Ben Waine has tonight picked up two awards at the 2021 Wellington Sport and Active Recreation Awards (SARA).
These awards mean a lot for me and they’re a really big honour – especially considering the other athletes [in these categories] and their achievements throughout the year.
The 2021 Wellington SARA awards aim to reward excellence and dedication to Wellington sport and recreation over the past two years, with 14 award categories which recognise sport and recreation excellence of Wellington-based athletes, teams, volunteers, officials and coaches.
Waine’s first win was the Personality of the Year award, beating out the likes of cricketers Devon Conway and Sophie Devine, as well as Saint’s Jordan Ngatai and Hurricane’s Du’Plessis Kirifi. In addition to recognising Waine’s athletic talent, the award also reflected both his on-screen presence during the 2020/21 A-League season with the Phoenix as well as his community work and growing public profile.
The second win was for Emerging Sportsman of the Year, open to any sporting person under the age of 20 who the voting panel believes has the greatest potential to be a future Wellington Sportsperson of the Year winner. Waine beat out rising stars Liam Lamb and Will Anthony (athletics) and Hurricane’s player Ruben Love to claim this prestigious award.
Waine, currently training in Auckland as he prepares for possible selection in the New Zealand Under-23 football team – which will travel to the Tokyo Olympics – was humbled by the award wins.
“These awards mean a lot for me and they’re a really big honour – especially considering the other athletes [in these categories] and their achievements throughout the year,” says Waine.
“Thanks to everyone for their support and to the voting panel for choosing me.”
Wellington Phoenix General Manager, David Dome, says that the awards are well-deserved for the Club’s “rising kiwi star”.
“Ben has had a phenomenal year with the Phoenix, and that’s been the result of a lot of hard work on his part, combined with the great attitude that he’s shown as a 19-year-old living away from home this past season for the first time,” says Dome.
“This is a great win not just for Ben, but for the Phoenix Football Academy and the sport of football in New Zealand too.”