Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
IT was a memorable weekend for Zimbabwe as motocross star Tanyaradzwa Muzinda was crowned Junior Sportswoman of the Year while Elford Moyo got the Sportsman of the Year with a disability award at the African Union Sports Council Region Five Regional Annual Sports Awards on Saturday.
The awards were held in Johannesburg, South Africa to honour outstanding athletes in the region. The winners at country level are automatically entered as RASA nominees.
Muzinda, who is the reigning local Junior Sportswoman of the Year thanked the Sport and Recreation Commission and the nation for their support as she continues to raise her profile.
“I want to thank SRC for providing us with tickets and Zimbabweans for their unwavering support throughout the year and the African Union for acknowledging my efforts in my career. “And lastly to my parents I love you guys. Job well done,” said Muzinda.
Zimbabwe had several nominees including karateka Samson Muripo, who was nominated for the Sportsman of the Year and Sports-person of the Year.
Wheelchair racing athlete Margaret Bangajena was entered for the Sportswoman of the year with a disability as well as body-builder Helen Sinclair for the Sportswoman of the Year. Zimbabwe’s Rugby Sevens were up for the Sports Team of the Year.
However, the quartet of Muzinda, Moyo, Muripo and Bangajena made it among the finalists. And it was Muzinda and Moyo, who came tops in their respective categories.
Moyo has over the years underlined his dominance in wheelchair racing and last year claimed several gold medals in different races, among them George Outeniqua marathon, Old Mutual and JM Busha marathons.
Muzinda’s achievements include two bronze medals at two major motocross events in England in May and September last year. Sports Commission corporate communications officer Tirivashe Nheweyembwa said the awards are proof of the depth and quality of local athletes.
“We would like to congratulate the duo for coming tops. This is a demonstration of the depth and quality of our athletes.
“It is also a vote of confidence in the Annual National Sport Awards because the athletes were selected from these awards. And to that end we would like to pay tribute to the meticulous and diligent work that was done by our ANSA judges, true if they had not acquitted themselves well certainly no athlete would have been selected for the Regional awards,” said Nheweyembwa.
He also paid tribute to the national sport associations for their continued support to their athletes.
“Also to be acknowledged are the National Sport Associations and the technical teams of these athletes as they worked round the clock to ensure that the athletes compete in all the competitions locally, regionally, continentally and globally.
“It is not an easy feat to attain but against all odds the support system was amazing even when the future seemed bleak the national sport associations and technical teams soldiered on.