Athletes decry Ansa purse

HARARE - Sports personalities have bemoaned the monetary rewards at the Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa) held last week saying the prices do not reflect the effort, time and sacrifice they invest.

The Ansa awards seek to celebrate outstanding achievement of athletes, coaches and technical officials.

However, with winners on the night pocketing $400 for gold, silver medalists $300 and bronze medalists $200 there was very little to celebrate with some even decrying the rewards as pittance.

“Is this for the whole year, practicing and excelling?” Sportsman with a Disability of the Year runner up Elford Moyo questioned.

“Not that I want to sound ungrateful but I don’t think this is worthy of a person who excelled above everyone else.

“I don’t think $300 represents excellence. Winning these awards should be life changing.”

Getting into the running for Ansa awards involves a rigorous selection process that begins with athletes and officials being nominated by their respective national sport associations.

From there a committee of judges comes up with three finalists for each category before awarding the most distinguished athlete, team or official of the year.

The only notable prize went to boxer Charles Manyuchi who pocketed $2 000 for winning the Sportsperson of the Year award ahead of Cara Black.

He had earlier on won $400 for winning the Sportsman of the Year.

Sports minister Andrew Langa acknowledged that the winners’ purse fell way short of the status held by the awards.

“Well that is an issue which I believe goes along with our economy. We wound have wanted to give them much more,” he said.

“I have been saying to my colleagues when someone wins an award they should get something which is in line with the award that he would have got.”

A look at previous winners of the Ansa award paints a gloomy picture.

Margret Bangajena, who has won the Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability a whopping five times and last week emerged as runner up in the same category, perhaps depicts how the awards have done little to change the recipients lives.

That she has been crowned the best female wheelchair athlete for half a decade has not made her life a bed of roses.

The wheelchair she uses so skilfully to dominate local and regional competitions has been patched up, straightened and repaired for the five years she has had it as a second hand.

The awards are sponsored by Delta Corporation to the tune of $30 000.

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