Sophie Pascoe is among five Paralympians up for the Halberg Awards ©Getty Images

All five of New Zealand's Paralympic gold medallists from the Tokyo 2020 Games are among a list of 28 finalists for the Halberg Awards, an event that honours sporting achievements of teams and athletes.

Leading the group is 11-time Paralympic swimming champion Dame Sophie Pascoe who won two golds, a silver and a bronze in Japan.

She claimed victories in the S9 100 metres freestyle and SM9 200m individual medley, making her the most successful Paralympian from New Zealand.

Anna Grimaldi joins her after winning the T47 long jump gold medal, as do fellow athletics champions Lisa Adams in the F37 women's shot put and women's F46 javelin winner Holly Robinson.

Tupou Neiufi, another swimmer, makes the list after winning the women's S8 100m backstroke.

All five are in contention for the Para Athlete/Team of the Year, as well as among 19 in the running for the Supreme Halberg Award, the highest accolade at the event.

Paralympics New Zealand chief executive Fiona Allan believes it is time to see the first Para athlete become the recipient of the Supreme Halberg Award.

"Over the history of the Halberg Awards, since the 1980s, our Paralympians have won over 150 medals for New Zealand, almost half of them gold," said Allan.

"In New Zealand we have great sportspeople, but arguably even greater Para sportspeople. 

Lisa Adams was one of five Paralympians to win gold for New Zealand at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Lisa Adams was one of five Paralympians to win gold for New Zealand at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

"We really punch above our weight as a nation.

"Among the current Paralympian nominees, we have one of the greatest Para athletes the world has ever seen. 

"In 2021 she won four medals at the pinnacle event in her sport, the Paralympic Games, against strong competition. 

"If that's not a supreme achievement, I don’t know what is."

The 28 shortlisted athletes for the Halberg Awards were whittled down from 79 nominations by judges that include former athletes, coaches and sports journalists.

Among those also eligible to win the Supreme Halberg Award are IndyCar racer Scott Dixon, squash player and world number two Paul Coll, cricketer Kane Williamson and three-time Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond.

Women's Motocross World Championship champion Courtney Duncan, three-time Tokyo 2020 canoe sprint champion Dame Lisa Carrington, rowing single sculls Olympic champion Emma Twigg and women's rugby sevens player and Olympic champion Sarah Hirini are also eligible, as they are shortlisted for the Sportswoman of the Year accolade.

New Zealand won six golds, three silvers and three bronzes at Tokyo 2020, with Pascoe being the only winner of two titles.