Topping off their gold medal-winning effort, the New Zealand Black Ferns 7s team has been celebrated by Olympic/ANOC Awards in 2021.
The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was a raging success; even in a pandemic. The global event included rugby sevens for the second time, and the award for best female team of Tokyo 2020 were the New Zealand women’s team – known as the Black Ferns 7s (as the XVs team are the Black Ferns). World Champions, and now the ‘golden girls’ of the sevens game are recognized Internationally for their efforts.
Athletes and teams who shone at the Olympic Games earlier this year were identified for their inspiring performances. The best female and male athletes, as well as the best female and male teams from team sports, were honoured. That prize included the New Zealand Black Ferns 7s squad, the first time ever a New Zealand (NZ) side has ever been awarded such a global accolade.
New Zealand Black Ferns 7s team celebrated by Olympic/ANOC Awards 2021
Such an accolade is a first for the New Zealand Olympic committee, with NZ Olympic committee CEO Kereyn Smith passing on her congratulations to the team. “New Zealand was inspired by the efforts of our women’s sevens team in Tokyo. This team put years of hard work into an amazing Olympic campaign and truly deserve this award.”
In a breathtaking ANOC Awards 2021 ceremony that took place at the Creta Maris Beach Resort over the weekend, the Olympic delegation came together in celebration of some of the leading names in Olympic sports.
The ANOC Awards winners for 2021 are:
Best Female Multiple Athlete Event of Tokyo 2020: Estonia Fencing Épée Team
Best Male Multiple Athlete Event of Tokyo 2020: Italy Cycling-Track Team Pursuit
Best Female Team of Tokyo 2020: New Zealand Rugby Sevens
Best Male Team of Tokyo 2020: Japan Baseball
Best Female Athlete of Tokyo 2020: Maggie Mac Neil
Best Male Athlete of Tokyo 2020: Eliud Kipchoge
Outstanding Athlete Performance: Mijaín López
Outstanding NOC of Tokyo 2020: Japanese Olympic Committee
Contribution to the Olympic Movement: John Coates
The New Zealand Black Ferns 7s team went through their Olympic campaign unbeaten, with wins against Kenya, Great Britain, and the Russian Olympic Committee in pool play. A dramatic extra-time victory over Fiji in the semi-final set up a gold medal match against France, New Zealand winning 26-12.
To be celebrated by a ANOC Award like this, is a huge honour. Captain Sarah Hirini said the team was thrilled to accept the award. “This is a huge honour for us. It was unreal to win that gold medal and this award just makes that campaign even more special.
“We’re really proud of our achievements and success over the last five years and we’re excited for what’s next,” said Hirini in an NZ Rugby media release. The NZ women’s national side has won the Rugby World Cup Sevens, Commonwealth Games gold, and now the Olympic gold medals, to go with numerous World Rugby Sevens Series titles over that period.
As well as the women winning gold, their male counterparts the All Blacks 7s also took out the men’s tournament is a significant achievement for the nation. Replying to a Silver medal for the women in 2016, and a bronze for the men – it was a complete 180, and a great reward for both sides’ commitment and resilience in the competitive sport of rugby sevens.
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