Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE 2019 Annual National Sports Awards finalists were unveiled yesterday at Royal Harare Golf Club with a number of notable names missing from the list.
The awards are held to recognise sporting excellence by local athletes and teams. The ceremony will be held on January 29 at Manna Resorts.
Some of the notable absentees include Samson Muripo, who was crowned world champion at the sixth Kyokushin Karate World Cup last year, when he won the veterans category.
While the senior national netball team was nominated for the Team of the Year Award, and coach Lloyd Makunde is favourite for the Coach of the Year, none of the Gems’ players made it among the finalists for the Sportswoman of the Year award.
The likes of former Gems captain Felistus Kwangwa and goal shooter Joice Takaidza were some of the players that played a key role during the teams’ campaign at the World Cup in Liverpool.
Boxer Charles Manyuchi won the World Boxing Federation world middleweight title last year but could not make the list.
Steve Vickers, who chairs the judges panel, said they had to take into consideration the various levels of the international events.
“So, this was one that we debated a lot, about Samson, knowing that it might generate a lot of debate.
“The key thing here is he competed in a veterans’ category which is for age 40 and above and obviously that means you are at your peak as sports-person from 20 to 30 roughly, so veterans category is for those who are in the latter stages, in fact who are beyond the peak.
“Then we said how do we compare this with other good contenders who are not veterans, who are in the senior category?
“It was wonderful that he represented the nation when his father had died and we really appreciate and respected that but the deciding factor was that it was a veterans category and we were looking at the merits of that achievement.’’
Promising swimming sensation, Donata Katai, was nominated for the Junior Sportswoman of the Year alongside judoka Christi Rose Pretorius and Andie Leigh Kuipers from triathlon.
Triple jumper Chengetayi Mapaya, who participated at the World Championships, Benjamin Lock from tennis and Themba Gorimbo (mixed martial arts) are vying for the Sportsman of the Year award. Long distance runner Rutendo Nyahora, who was at the World Championships last year, Regina Jonga (body-building) and silver medalist at the African Games Laurelle Brown are the finalists for the Sportswoman of the Year award.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by Sports and Recreation Commission chairman Gerald Mlotshwa, who announced that NetOne had come on board to sponsor the Sports-person of the Year award and acknowledged their traditional sponsors Delta Corporation for their continued support.
Mlotshwa said the Sports Commission should take the lead in good governance.
“The present awards are being held at a time the SRC is reconstituting itself in order that it better delivers on its statutory mandate,’’ he said.
“The circumstances under which the awards are being held represents, in public at least, the re-branding and refocusing of the organisation for the purpose as stated.’’
List of finalists
Junior Sportswoman of the Year
Christi-Rose Pretorius (Judo), Andie Leigh Kuipers (Triathlon), Donata Katai (Swimming).
Junior Sportsman of the Year
Matthew Antony Denslow (Triathlon), Denilson Cyprianos (Swimming), Emmanuel Bako (Motosport).
Junior Sportswoman with a disability
Peace Taruvinga (Athletics T20), Mufarowashe Shambira (Athletics — Special Olympics), Babra Njovo (Athletics — Special Olympics).
Junior Sportsman of the Year with a disability
Tapiwanashe Mutsikira (Athletics — Special Olympics), Takudzwa Matonhodze (Golf — Special Olympics), Pride Mafira (Athletics T44).
Sportswoman of the Year
Rutendo Nyahora (Athletics), Regina Jonga (Body-building), Laurelle Brown (Triathlon).
Sportsman of the Year
Chengetayi Mapaya (Athletics), Benjamin Lock (Tennis), Themba Gorimbo (Mixed Martial Arts).
Sportswoman of the Year with a disability
Margaret Bangajena (Wheelchair Racing), Kalyn Chikara (Golf — Special Olympics), Morine Mavhunga (Para-Badminton).
Sportsman of the Year with a disability
Shepard Patrick (Athletics — Special Olympics), Derreck Chifamba (golf — Special Olympics), Tungamirai Mudyanadzo (golf — Special Olympics).
Team of the Year
Netball Senior Team (The Gems — Netball), Dadirai Jack and Hallel Guri (Bocce — Special Olympics), Cricket Senior Women’’s Team (The Lady Chevrons — Cricket).
Coach of the Year
Lloyd Makunde (Netball), Pamela Fulton (Triathlon), Owen Makuruwa (Athletics – Special Olympics).
Technical Official of the Year
Sarah Benett (Hockey), Patrick Mukondiwa (Boxing), Langton Rusere (Cricket).