Northland's Blair Tuke and Cameron Leslie are up for awards in the Halberg Awards in Auckland tonight.
London 2012 Olympic sailing silver medallist Tuke is a finalist in the Team of the Year category and will be up against rowing pairs Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond. Tuke will also be up against fellow sailors Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie.
Leslie, who is the Northern Advocate's sports editor and won gold in the pool at the London Paralympics, is a finalist in the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year category, where he is up against fellow Paralympic gold medallists Mary Fisher, Phillipa Gray and Sophie Pascoe.
Leslie has decided to attend tonight's awards ceremony - after being critical of the Halbergs for what he perceived as tokenism - but more in a supporter's role for Sophie Pascoe, in the hope that she takes out the Supreme Award.
In a column in the Advocate this year, Leslie said he disagreed with being shoved into the token disability award, known affectionately within disabled sporting circles as the "Token Gimp Award".
The Halberg Foundation responded to the criticism, saying the award category was introduced in 2011 to enhance recognition of the achievements of classified disabled athletes at the Westpac Halberg Awards.
Before 2011, disabled athletes were eligible to enter the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year categories.
The Halberg Foundation surveyed disabled athletes to determine whether there was an appetite to create a category for the purpose of enhancing awareness and recognition of the achievements of New Zealand's disabled athletes competing on the world stage.
The survey returned overwhelming support for the establishment of the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award category, with 107 out of 114 of those surveyed in favour.
It said the category was introduced to acknowledge and honour the achievements of elite disabled athletes competing in classified disability sport.
At the time of its introduction, the foundation felt that providing choice for disabled athletes to be nominated in disabled or able-bodied categories would diminish the status of the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award.