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Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

02 Dec, 2021

Hope Ralph – Sportsperson of the Year 2021

36 AUT students from disciplines ranging from athletics to waka ama have been awarded an AUT Blue Award (2020 & 2021).

AUT established the awards to honour students who compete beyond their studies at the top level in their chosen sport, art, or culture, while maintaining high academic achievement.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions and uncertainties have caused the cancellation of the AUT Blue Awards ceremony for the second year in a row, with awardees instead being acknowledged in 2021 via online and social media platforms. A full list of 2020 & 2021 AUT Blue Award recipients can be found here.

2021 AUT Sportsperson of the Year: Hope Ralph – Hockey

AUT Sportsperson of the Year was the only major award to be awarded in 2021. This is the most prestigious award presented within the University to the male or female student who in the opinion of the judging panel has demonstrated high academic ability, outstanding athletic performance, and community contribution, during the eligible timeframe (1 September 2020 – 31 2021).

Hope Ralph was the recipient of this award in 2021. Hope was a member of the NZ Black Sticks Women’s team who placed 8th at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, held in 2021. Hope was an integral part of the team, scoring two goals throughout pool play including in their win against world No. 2 Argentina. Hope was also a high achiever in the classroom, achieving an A grade average in her studies across the eligible timeframe. Hope has recently graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Sport & Recreation degree. Hope was a recipient of the Prime Ministers Athlete Scholarship in 2021. The scholarship allows athletes to undertake tertiary study while pursuing elite level sport at the same time.

Notably, Marisa van der Meer (football) and Ainsley Thorpe (triathlon), were also finalists for the Sportsperson of the Year award.

Marisa competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as a member of the NZ Football Ferns. As well as being an Olympian she is also achieving at a high level academically at AUT, where she is in her second year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (physiotherapy) degree. Marisa was also the recipient of an AUT Undergraduate Scholarship in 2021.

Ainsley competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as a member of the NZ Triathlon team. As well as being an Olympian, Ainsley is also achieving at a high level academically at AUT, where she is in her second year of the Bachelor of Arts degree.

There were no major award winners for 2020.