Pacific talent honoured at Ōtara Sports Awards 2019
All Blacks Sevens star Sione Molia (pictured) has been awarded the Supreme Award at the recent 2019 Ōtara Sports Awards.
Of Tongan descent, Sione was named Sportsman of the Year before winning the Supreme Award.
He was an integral member of the All Black Sevens side that finished third in the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Series 2018/19.
The team won the Dubai and Sydney tournaments and Molia finished the 10-leg series with 22 tries, 95 tackles and 21-line breaks.
“I’m truly blessed and honoured to be receiving the supreme award. When I got the news, I got a bit teary and was speechless, but I was very happy at the same time,” Sione says.
Sione was raised in Ōtara and played junior rugby for East Tamaki Rugby Football Club under the tutelage of Eric Rush, New Zealand Sevens legend and member of the inaugural 2017 class of the Ōtara Sports Hall of Fame.
“A special mention to Eric Rush for helping not only myself but other Ōtara kids who are doing it big and representing our hood, you’ve truly inspired us to be where we are today,” Sione adds.
The 29-year-old’s family continue to reside in the area including his younger sister Ilisapeti Molia, a Tangaroa College Year 13 student and Counties Manukau Heat rugby player who was named Junior Sportswoman of the Year at the awards.
The Ōtara Sports Awards celebrates and honours the sporting achievements of local sports people including athletes, coaches and administrators who excel at a regional, national or international level.
The Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board were the principal supporters of the event together with Otara Health Charitable Trust.
Two sporting icons were also honoured with lifetime achievement awards. New Zealand Rugby League great Dean Bell, and Manu Samoa legend the late Papali’itele Peter Fatialofa were both inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of their contribution to Ōtara and sports in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Tafito Lafaele of the Auckland Storm won the Sportswoman of the Year Award; while the Elementz Sports New Zealand Open Men’s Touch Team were named Team of the Year after placing third in the New Zealand Open Men’s grade at the national tournament.
The Uniquely Abled Award was won by Mi’i Pepe, a star of the Auckland Wheelbreakers and Waka Ama.
Emily Scanlan of the AMMI Athletics Club was named Masters Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year.
To round out the competitive awards, Terry Morrison was named Coach of the Year, Alfred Nonu was named Junior Sportsman of the Year for the second consecutive year and Ilisapeti Molia was recognised as the Junior Sportswoman of the Year.