By: Iain Hyndman
Whanganui judoka Finn Brown was floored to be presented the supreme award at the annual Massey University Blues Sports Awards in Palmerston North on Tuesday evening.
The 19-year black belt has been competing successfully at international and national level in recent times, but was simply blown away by Tuesday’s award.
He was named Manawatu Campus Sportsman of the Year.
“I was surprised, to be honest and didn’t expect the supreme award at all,” Brown said on Wednesday.
“It was awesome with the supreme award taking it to another level, I was blown away to be in such illustrious company. One of the other nominees came up to me before the announcement and said he was chuffed to be named in such high company and that was a great honour for me.”
Brown trains out of the Whanganui City Judo Gym under coach Garry Davies, who is one of the top Masters grade judokas of the art in New Zealand.
“Garry and I have a great relationship and understand each other well. He knows what I want and how to get me there.”
Davies returned the compliment by saying Brown was any coach’s dream student – hard worker, diligent and respects a sport that transcends the physical aspects.
“Judo is a life experience and Finn not only accepts that but also gives back,” Davies said.
Brown badly injured his shoulder after landing heavily at the Sydney International and that prevented him competing at the nationals this year and defending his junior under 73kg title from 2016.
The former Whanganui High School student did, however, compete at the Oceania Championships representing New Zealand in Tonga earlier this year bringing home silver in the senior men’s under-73kg grade and bronze in the junior section of the same weight division.
Brown trained with the Hong Kong Judo team and members of the Japanese Olympic squad and coaches in October last year. He was ranked No1 New Zealand junior and senior in the under 73kg division.
Brown studies mechatronic robotic systems at Massey after being introduced to the field through Whanganui Intermediate School’s popular robotics programme.
“It was through that WIS programme I became interested in robotics and the fact that Massey offered a programme and was so close to Whanganui. I come home every Sunday and train at City College with Garry and our other coach Eddie Yuen – it’s the best training I get all week,” Brown said.
He also felt blessed to have his mum and dad Peter and Jenny Brown, his grand parents and girlfriend on hand to witness his award presentation on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Sam Murphy and Eleanor Hogan went back-to-back as part of the Massey Girls Netball side to win the Sports Team of the Year award for the second time. Kahurangi Sturmey was also in the team, but debuted this season.
Whanganui rower Hugh Pawson was awarded his blues at the ceremony, but was not nominated for an award category, while rugby player Sam Malcolm was awarded his blues for the third time.
The New Zealand Universities Blues Award is the highest sporting accolade given in the New Zealand tertiary system. It is part of a tradition dating from 1922 in New Zealand and earlier in England, where the colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities came to be a symbol for sporting excellence.
Sporting ‘blues’ have been made famous by the rivalry between England’s most famous universities, Oxford and Cambridge. ‘Oxford’ blues were only awarded for ‘real’ sports, such as rowing, rugby and cricket. Athletes in other codes could only aspire to half blues.
However, the scope has been widened and now includes a wide variety of sporting codes.
Source: Wanganui Chronicle