Four Kiwis nominated for ESPY awards after stellar seasons in chosen sport

Four Kiwi athletes have had their achievements in the last sporting year recognised with nominations for awards at the 2019 ESPYs.

The ESPYs - short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award - recognises individual and team athletic achievement and other sports-related performance during the calendar year.

After strong 2018-19s, MMA fighter Israel Adesanya, footballer Abby Erceg, driver Scott Dixon and snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott have all received nominations.

Israel Adesanya

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After getting teased when he was young, Adesanya decided he needed to learn to defend himself - a choice that changed his life forever. Source: Sunday

Adesanya shot to UFC stardom after winning four fights in 2018 before his name started to be thrown around for a UFC title shot.

The Nigerian-born fighter followed that up with a fight-of-the-night performance to beat MMA legend Anderson Silva at the start of this year before he became the interim UFC Middleweight Champion with a win over Kelvin Gastelum many fans are already describing as the fight of the year.

He's now set to fight previously-injured Australian champion Robert Whittaker to decide who will rule the division.

Adesanya faces UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and UFC women's bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes for Best Mixed Martial Arts Fighter.

Abby Erceg

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Abby Erceg will hang up her boots at the age of 27 after next month's Cyprus Cup. Source: 1 NEWS

Erceg made headlines when she retired from international football last year before returning to the Football Ferns this year, but all the while she was delivering in the US' National Women's Soccer League.

Erceg, who captains the North Carolina Courage, was named the defender of the year in the league after a record-breaking season.

The 28-year-old played every minute of the Courage's season, including their 3-0 win in the final against the Portland Thorns, and was also named in the NWSL's Best XI.

Erceg's season has seen her nominated for the Best American National Women's Soccer League (NSWL) player award alongside Lindsey Horan, Adrianna Franch and Sam Kerr.

Scott Dixon

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The Kiwi driver notched up the milestone at Sonoma Raceway in California. Source: Seven Sharp

Scott Dixon is up for the Best Driver award - but he'll face stiff competition with one of the other nominees being Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton.

Dixon claimed his fifth IndyCar championship in 2018 and managed to take individual wins in Detroit, Texas and Toronto.

He also managed six other podium finishes in the 17-race season, finishing up with 678 points in the Drivers Championship - 57 points ahead of his closest competition, American Alexander Rossi.

Also nominated for Best Driver are American drag racer Steve Torrence and Nascar driver Steve Torrence.

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott

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Kiwi athletes Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous are still buzzing over their historic bronze medals. Source: Breakfast

Sadowski-Synnott has had a breakout year in the snow, which has seen her nominated alongside skier Kelly Sildaru, fellow snowboarder Chloe Kim and surfer Stephanie Gilmore for Best Female Sports Athlete.

The 18-year-old broke onto the international stage with her bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games but she's since gone to another level with a golden triple crown at the World Championships, Winter X Games and US Open in the slopestyle this year.

Sadowski-Synnott also took silver in the Big Air at the X Games.

The ESPYs will be held on Jully 11 NZT in Los Angeles.

Kiwi ESPYs nominees Israel Adesanya, Abby Erceg, Scott Dixon and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. Source: Photosport

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