Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THIS year’s Sportsperson of the Year award is likely to be a contest between karateka Samson Muripo and bodybuilder Helen Costa Sinclair after the two were named among the final nominees for the 2017 Annual National Sports Awards yesterday in Harare. The awards are set for December 13 in the capital.
Both Muripo and Sinclair are former Sportspersons of the Year and they have another chance to contest for the top award as they made it to the final list. Muripo was nominated for the Sportsman of the Year accolade alongside Brian Chiringa another karateka and golfer Nyasha Mauchaza. The former world champion clinched gold at the Third International So-Kyokushin Karate tournament senior men open weight early this year, in Iran.
He then came second in the Under-90kg weight division and third in the kata competition at the same event and is a favourite to win the Sportsman of the Year award. However, for the Sportsperson of the Year accolade he is likely to face tough competition from Sinclair, who is also up for the Sportswoman of the Year award together with fellow bodybuilder Selina Manuel and long distance runner Rutendo Nyahora.
Sinclair was on top of her game as she underlined her status as a top female bodybuilder when she claimed pole position in the Arnold Classic Africa Women Body Fitness (Under 163cm) in May.
For the Junior Sportsman of the Year, the contest will feature rising triple jumper Chengetayi Mapaya, swimmer Terence Liam O’Hara and tennis star Mehluli Sibanda.
Tanyaradzwa Muzinda from motocross will be vying for the Junior Sportswoman of the Year award together with rower Holly Bicknell and Emily Tariro Jones. For the Team of the Year, World Cup-bound Cheetahs are up against Zimbabwe Cricket Team and the pair of Kenneth Raynor and Keegan Smith from rowing.
The Cheetahs qualified for the Rugby Sevens World Cup scheduled for United States next year under the guidance of Gilbert Nyamutsamba, who was named for the Coach of the Year award. It could be a double for the Cheetahs should the Sevens side and their coach win the top gongs.
The Cheetahs would however, have to shake off the challenges of their cricket counterparts for whom mentor Heath Streak is also a contender for the Coach of the Year along with Kristine Johnson from rowing.
The judges’ panel vice-chairperson Witness Magulula, who was standing in for chairperson Thembi Moyo said they were pleased with the overall response from the national associations.
“Basically it was better than last year. This year we had quite a number of responses to work on, so we had quite a number of entries that came through. So as the adjudication process, we had to go through everything and come up with this final list.
“We looked at events that mattered most, especially those who participated internationally, continentally, regionally and nationally. So those who participated internationally managed to score higher than those who participated continentally,” Magulula said.
However, he noted that there is still room for improvement in terms of submissions. “A lot needs to be done from the sport associations, they need to submit. I can say they need to comply with the requirements because it’s for the better of their athletes. It’s like if a national association does not submit information on their athlete, you prejudice that athlete.
“We expect the national sport associations to comply by submitting nominations,” said Magulula.
The Sports Commission retained all the 17 categories with six of them to be announced on the day of the awards. They include the Sports Administration and Sports Development awards and these are mainly to do with the governance issues and development of sport.
Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Holly Bicknell (rowing), Emily Tariro Jones (golf), Tanyaradzwa Muzinda (motocross).
Junior Sportsman of the Year: Chengetayi Mapaya (athletics), Terence Liam O’Hara (swimming), Mehluli Don Ayanda Sibanda (tennis).
Junior Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability: Pelagia Chidhakwa (athletics IC), Elizabeth Matupe (athletics T12), Siphosami Moyo (athletics T11).
Junior Sportsman of the Year with a disability: Munorwa Changakungwa (athletics T46), Raymond Nyati (athletics T11), Edmore Solomon (athletics T46).
Sportswoman of the Year: Helen Costa Sinclair (bodybuilding), Selina Manuel (bodybuilding), Rutendo Nyahora (athletics).
Sportsman of the Year: Brian Chiringa (karate), Nyasha Mauchaza (golf), Samson Muripo (karate).
Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability: Margaret Bangajena (wheelchair racing), Thandiwe Ndlovu (wheelchair racing), Ratidzo Tomu (wheelchair racing).
Sportsman of the Year with a Disability: Elford Moyo (wheelchair racing), Michael Mudyanadzo (golf Special Olympics), Samson Muroyiwa (wheelchair racing).
Team of the Year: Zimbabwe Cricket Team (cricket), Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens (Cheetahs) (rugby), Kenneth Raynor and Keegan Smith (rowing).
Coach of the Year: Kristine Johnson (rowing), Gilbert Nyamutsamba (rugby), Heath Hilton Streak (cricket).
Technical Official of the Year: Agnes Chiroodza (netball), Annie Joyce Muchenu (basketball), Patrick Mukondiwa (boxing).
Sports Administration of the Year (to be announced on the ANSA ceremony).
Sports Development of the Year (to be announced on the ANSA ceremony).
Women and Sports Award (to be announced on the ANSA ceremony),
Special Acknowledgement Award (to be announced on the ANSA ceremony).
Junior Sportsperson of the Year (to be announced on the ANSA ceremony).
Sportsperson of the Year (to be announced on the ANSA ceremony).