Shot put star Tom Walsh faces stiff opposition in his bid for a second straight Halberg Award.
The Halberg Foundation has announced 26 finalists across six categories for the ceremony that will celebrate sporting excellence from 2019.
Walsh, who placed first overall in the 2019 IAAF Diamond League, is joined in the men's category by motorsport ace Scott McLaughlin, Blackcaps skipper Kane Williamson and UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya had a stellar year, arguably the mixed martial arts fighter of the year, with wins over UFC legend Anderson Silva, title contender Kelvin Gastelum (UFC's Fight of the Year) and a stunning knockout win over Robert Whittaker for the belt.
McLaughlin dominated the Australian Supercars championship in his Ford Mustang, while also claiming a maiden Bathurst 1000 title. Williamson won Player of the Tournament at the Cricket World Cup.
Lisa Carrington again features in the Sportswoman of the Year category. The reigning Olympic champion claimed two world titles during another successful year, with Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman, world champion snowboarder Zoe Sadowksi-Synnott and motocross world champion Courtney Duncan the other finalists.
The race for Coach of the Year is also very tight, with Silver Ferns mentor Noeline Taurua joined by Adesanya's coach Eugene Bareman, Carrington's coach Gordon Walker, swimming coach Roly Crichton and rowing coach Gary Hay.
The Silver Ferns' dramatic World Cup win sees them as favourites for Team of the Year. They will be joined by the Blackcaps, the Black Ferns Sevens and two women's rowing crews.
2019 Halberg Awards finalists:
Team of the Year
Black Ferns Sevens (rugby)
Silver Ferns (netball)
Women’s Eight (rowing)
Women’s Double - Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue– (rowing)
Para athlete/team of the Year
Cameron Leslie (Para swimming, wheelchair rugby)
Emma Foy and Hannah van Kampen (Para cycling)
Lisa Adams (Para athletics)
Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming)
Sportswoman of the Year
Courtney Duncan (motorcycling)
Lisa Carrington (canoe racing)
Laura Langman (netball)
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snowboarding)
Sportsman of the Year
Israel Adesanya (mixed martial arts)
Kane Williamson (cricket)
Scott McLaughlin (motorsport)
Tom Walsh (athletics)
Coach of the Year
Eugene Bareman (mixed martial arts)
Gary Hay (rowing)
Gordon Walker (canoe racing)
Noeline Taurua (netball)
Roly Crichton (Para swimming)
Alice Robinson (ski racing)
Erika Fairweather (swimming)
Laurence Pithie (cycling)
Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan (yachting)
The ceremony takes place in Auckland on February 13.