Ellina Mhlanga, Harare Bureau
DEPUTY Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Yeukai Simbanegavi, says the nomination of local athletes for the African Union Sports Council Region Five Regional Annual Sports Awards is a positive indication of the quality the country has.
The awards, hosted by the AUSC Region Five, are meant to recognise outstanding athletes, coaches and journalists and teams from member countries – Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This year, the awards will be held in Namibia on May 25.
Winners at country level are automatically entered as nominees for the regional awards.
Zimbabwe have five athletes nominated for six categories with Wilfred Mashaya nominated for the Sportsman of the Year and Sportsperson of the Year.
“This is a clear demonstration that our sportspersons are highly competitive as they have been able to hold their own at a higher level.
‘’It also speaks to the meticulous adjudication system that was deployed at a local level by our adjudicators.
“As government, we are committed to continuously supporting our sportspersons so that they can excel at a much higher level in order to bring joy and pride to our beloved country.
‘’We will also continue to engage with other stakeholders and partners so that together we can transform the sports sector into a source of livelihood.
“The success of our athletes is a testimony of the podium performance programme that we are pursuing as a Ministry together with the Sports and Recreation Commission,” said Simbanegavi.
Young squash sensation Ryan Gwidzima, who is based in the United Kingdon is vying for the Junior Sportsman of the Year, while Lorryn Ashley Bass (rowing) is contesting for the Junior Sportswoman of the Year.
Coach of the Year: Gilbert Nyamutsamba (Rugby, Sevens Rugby team, Zimbabwe), Samuel Sepeng (Athletics, South Africa), Christina Mkwanda-Msinji (Netball, national team Under-20, Malawi).
Journalist of the Year: Tinashe Tirivavi (The Mirror, Zimbabwe), Motshidisi Mohono (South Africa), Limba Mupetami (Namibian Sun, Namibia).
Junior Female Sportsperson of the Year: Moneyi Chingaipe (Athletics, Malawi), Lorryn Ashley Bass (Rowing, Zimbabwe), Manqabang Tsibela (Athletics, Lesotho).
Junior Male Sportsperson of the Year: Kennedy Luchembe (Athletics, Zambia), Blessings Kamanga (Chess, Malawi), Ryan Gwidzima (Squash, Zimbabwe).
Sports Team of the Year: Athletics National Teams (4×4 Athletics, Botswana), Banyana Banyana (Football, South Africa), Netball (Netball, Malawi).
Sportsman of the Year: Isaac Makwala (Athletics, Botswana), Wilfred Mashaya (Martial Arts, Kobudo, Zimbabwe), Chad Le Clos (Swimming, South Africa).
Sportsman of the Year with disability: Ndodanzi Jonathan Ntutu (Athletics T12, South Africa), Celestion Elias Antonio (Football, Angola), Ananias Shikongo (Athletics T11, Namibia).
Sportswoman of the Year: Anisha Basheel (Boxing) Malawi, Caster Semenya (Athletics, South Africa), Lerato Sechele (Athletics, Lesotho).
Sportswoman of the Year with disability: Margaret Bangajena (Athletics, wheelchair racing, Zimbabwe), Monica Munga (Athletics, Zambia), Anrune Liebenberg (Athletics T47, South Africa0.
Sportsperson of the Year: Wilfred Mashaya (Martial Arts, Kobudo, Zimbabwe), Anisha Basheel (Boxing, Malawi), Caster Semenya (Athletics, South Africa).