Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THIS year’s Sportsperson of the Year title is likely to be a contest between boxing champion Charles Manyuchi and swimming icon Kirsty Coventry. Both Manyuchi and Coventry were yesterday named among the final nominees for the Annual National Sports Awards unveiled by the Sports Commission yesterday.
Manyuchi, who won the overall Sportsperson of the Year award last year, was yesterday nominated for the Sportsman of the Year accolade together with karatekas Admire Chingozhoro and Mighty Tangai Mhlanga.
The boxer, who in July retained his WBC international welterweight title, is also hotly tipped to win the Sportsperson of the Year award at a special ANSA banquet in Harare on December 16.
But he could face some stiff competition from Coventry who also had a good sporting season in which she grabbed three gold medals at the African Games in Congo Brazzaville in September, as she raced to victory in the women’s 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke and 200m individual medley events.
Coventry is also in contention for the 2015 Sportswoman of the Year award with rower Micheen Thornycroft, who is also bound for the 2016 Rio Games, and female bodybuilder Helen Costa Sinclair.
In the Junior Sportsman of the Year award category, the battle will feature young motocross sensation Emmanuel Bako, triathlete Drew Michael Williams and Hinde Kyle of rowing.
The sport of motocross will be out to score “a double” at this year’s ANSA banquet as the country’s female rider Tanya Muzinda was nominated in the Junior Sportswoman of the Year category alongside tennis star Valeria Bhunu and swimmer Lee Robyn.
In the team of the year, senior netball team who won the African champions title in July this year in Botswana, would have to battle it out with the Zimbabwe senior women’s soccer team, the Mighty Warriors as well as rugby sevens.
The Mighty Warriors made history when they became the first football team to qualify for the 2016 Rio Summer Games.
Their coach Daniel Hondo — taking charge of the team for the first time this year after retiring from international rugby at the end of last year — has had more success in the domestic league.
He led Harare Sports Club to winning the Northern Rugby Super League, beating bitter rivals Old Georgians Sports Club in the Cup final last month.
Hondo will battle it out with Mighty Warriors coach as well as netball coach Ledwine Dondo in the coach of the year gong.
The judges panel chairperson Titus Zvomuya said they were impressed with the disability category.
“We sent out invitations to all the national associations and those associations that were able to meet the deadline did so and there were a few associations that did not meet the deadline and one or two that did not even submit.
“And we want to continue to encourage those associations to please submit their nominations because it is for the good of the athletes and administrators.
“We had a contact person within the SRC, who will then visit the affected associations and get information from those affected associations a strategy which worked very positively for us.
“As judges we were extremely impressed especially with the disability category, this category did very well at both regional, continental and international level and I am happy to say that the process is recognising this particular area.
“Again we notice that the higher you perform the better your chances of making it into the top three.
“If an association doesn’t have anyone qualifying they should indicate that there is no one who is qualifying instead of just keeping quiet,” said Zvomuya.
He added that they are continuously seeking to have glamorous awards like the South African awards which were held last Sunday and broadcast live on SABC amid pomp and fanfare.
Junior Sportsman of the Year
Bako Emmanuel (motocross), Drew Michael Williams(triathlon), Hinde Kyle (rowing).
Junior Sportswoman of the Year
Bhunu Valeria (tennis), Lee Robyn (swimming), Muzinda Tanyaradzwa (Motocross).
Junior Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability
Karina Nyasha ( athletics special olympics), Maponda Tsitsi (golf special Olympics), Sithole Laina (athletics T13).
Junior Sportsman of the Year with a Disability
Mudyanadzo Michael (golf special olympics), Musariri Munyaradzi (golf special olympics), Regan Robinson (golf special olympics).
Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability
Jack Dadirai (golf special olympics), Majoni Moleen (wheelchair racing T53) Moyo Elizabeth (athletics special olympics).
Sportsman of the Year with a disability
Chitembwe Lucky (athletics T12), Mehta Viren (golf special olympics), Mharakurwa Nyasha (wheelchair tennis).
Sportsman of the Year
Chingozhoro Admire (karate), Manyuchi Charles (boxing), Mhlanga Tangai Mighty (karate).
Sportswoman of the Year
Coventry Kirsty (swimming), Sinclair Helen Costa (body building), Thornycroft Micheen (rowing).
Team of the Year
Mighty Warriors, senior netball team, Sevens Rugby.
Coach of the Year
Hondo Daniel (7s Rugby), Mulauzi Shadreck (Mighty Warriors), Ledwin Dondo (senior netball team).
Technical Official of the Year
Mkondiwa Patrick (boxing), Muchenu Joyce (basketball), Pezani Precious (rugby).
Sports Administration of the Year (to be announced on the day).
Sports Development of the Year (to be announced on the day).
Women in Sport Award (to be announced on the day).
Special Acknowledgements Awards (to be announced on the day).
Junior Sportsman of the Year (to be announced on the day).
Sports Person of the Year (to be announced on the day).