Halberg Awards: Dame Lisa Carrington rewards herself with 30-minute sleep-in before training after second Supreme Halberg triumph

Dame Lisa Carrington allowed herself to indulge in a special treat to celebrate her second Supreme Halberg win on Wednesday night - 30 minutes extra in bed, before getting back out on the water for Thursday's training.

"This is my work and at the end of the day, I still want to keep turning up for that," Dame Lisa says.

There truly are no days off for Carrington, demonstrating the commitment and insatiable desire for success that's kept her at the top of the canoe-racing world for the past decade.

Her historic trio of gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics last year instantly penciled in her name for another haul of Halbergs, and she came away from the 59th edition of New Zealand's premier sporting prizegiving with both the Sportswoman of the Year and the prestigious Supreme prize as best overall.

Carrington now has five consecutive Sportswoman of the Year awards under her belt, but  insists this one was just as meaningful, earning the nod ahead of golfer Lydia Ko, motocross champion Courtney Duncan, rower Emma Twigg, and sevens star Sarah Hirini.

Carrington on her way to one of three golds in Tokyo.
Carrington on her way to one of three golds in Tokyo. Photo credit: Photosport

"It's always really special to be able to go to the Halberg Awards and this one has been really unique," she adds.

"Just being able to celebrate all the other athletes as well, it was just a really cool event and moment to be able to do that.

"We've all been caught up in our own bases and bubbles, so it was great to be able to be there and kind of recognise all those ladies on the table and just connect with them, because they are spectacular people."

Carrington's coach Gordon Walker was also recognised with his fourth Halbergs win for Coach of the Year, prevailing in one of the most contentious categories of the evening, which included Blackcaps coach Gary Stead and sevens duo Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney.

"When you get up there you're accepting that award on behalf of a lot of people and there's a huge amount of support that we both have," says Walker.

"There were some great finalists in all of the categories, particularly the category I was in. I remember watching each of the finalists and they gave me some great memories as a sports fan.

"To be in and amongst those people is pretty special."

After a well deserved break since Tokyo, Carrington and Walker are now steadily building for the world championships, which take place in Canada later this year.

Despite having everything there is to win in the sport, Walker says there's still plenty of room for improvement and the motivation to match.

"Success is an iterative approach," Walker adds. "You're just adding up the small gains, like Lisa turning up this morning. The work is every day.

"There's certainly a view to how fast someone possibly can go in a women's K1 500m, but it's about trying to stay innovative with the way we approach that while staying true to some of the processes that have worked for a long period of time.

"Hopefully over a number of years the performance changes and it becomes quite a big change."

"One thing that hasn't changed is just the enduring desire and passion to become better and to be looking forward."

Reflecting on her unprecedented sports dominance, Dame Lisa hopes it sends a message to other aspiring young Kiwi athletes.

"I guess I'd like people to see what I do and think, if you just work hard enough and have perseverance, that you can do the things that you really enjoy and love," she says.

"I've been super fortunate to be able to do what I do, so I have a huge amount of gratitude that I can do what I love, so it'd be great if people could take that."