Verbeek, van Koeverden finalists for Canadian sport awards

Grimsby’s Tonya Verbeek wears her silver medal for wrestling in the 55kg freestyle category at the 2012 London Olympic Games. (Photo: COC/Jason Ransom)

Grimsby native Tonya Verbeek and Oakville’s Adam van Koeverden are finalist for the 40th Canadian Sport Awards which honour and recognize the sporting achievements of Canada’s finest athletes and the contributions of others in 2012.

A finalist for the Female Athlete of the Year, Verbeek, who trains in St. Catharines, has made her mark in wrestling. She was the first woman to win a wrestling medal for Canada when she took silver in 2004. She scored a bronze at the Summer Olympics in 2008 and added a second silver at this summer’s Games in London. She has also won two bronze and a silver at the world championships and has a bronze and silver from the Pan American Games.

Male Athlete of the Year finalist, kayaker van Koeverden has been just as impressive on the water as Verbeek has been on mats. The Burlington-born paddler, who is a member of the Burloak Canoe Club in Oakville is a one time world champion in the 500 m and is the current reigning world champion in the K-1000 m, his favourite event.

He has won eight world championship medals, two gold, three silver, and three bronze. In addition, he has won four Olympic medals; one gold, two silvers, and a bronze, with his Olympic championship coming at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Winners will be announced on Oct. 17.

Also in the running for the male award are swimmers Ryan Cochrane, Victoria, B.C., and Brent Hayden, Mission, B.C. The other female athlete considerations are Rosannagh MacLennan, trampoline, King City, ON, and Christine Nesbitt, speedskating, London.

The Canadian Sport Awards were established in 1972.