ZIMBABWE’S athletes are up for the African Union Sports Council Region Five Regional Annual Sports Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa, this month.
The awards will be staged at Birchwood Hotel on May 26 and voting has already begun.
The winners at country level are automatically entered as RASA nominees.
Karateka Samson Muripo leads the Zimbabwe contingent after he was nominated for the Sportsman of the Year and Sportsperson of the Year awards.
Muripo underlined his status as one the top athletes in the country last year when he was crowned Sportsperson of the Year during the 2017 Annual National Sports Awards in Harare.
This came after he claimed gold in the men’s middleweight category at the Third International So-Kyokushin Karate Tournament in Ahvaz, Iran, last February.
He went on to finish second in the Under-90kg weight division and third place in the Kata competition.
Bodybuilder, Helen Costa Sinclair, young motocross rider Tanyaradzwa Muzinda and Margaret Bangajena join Muripo in the race for the regional awards.
Zimbabwe’s Rugby Sevens are up for the Sports Team of the Year.
Sinclair won the Sportswoman of the Year award while Muzinda was voted the Junior Sportswoman of Year at the Ansa awards.
Wheelchair racers Bangajena and Elford Moyo scooped the Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability and Sportsman of the Year with a Disability respectively at the same event.
The Rugby Sevens side are the reigning Team of the Year.
They will be hoping to emulate swimming icon Kirsty Coventry, who was crowned Sportswoman of the Year at the inaugural Regional awards in 2016, when they battle it out with other nominees from the region.
In a press statement released by the AUSC Region Five yesterday, chief executive Stanley Mutoya, said he was excited to see the RASA brand growing since the inaugural edition in 2016.
“Today we have nine-member countries taking part in the third edition, a serious growth because in 2016 we only had five member countries taking part.
“This is an indication that we have a good product to commercialise and know the corporates in our region will be keen to partner with us,” said Mutoya.
The 2018 RASA will see two new additions to their programme – the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebration – will form part of the activation plan.