Who will provide the Ansa?

HARARE - The stage is set for the Annual National Sports Awards night in Harare tomorrow with many an athlete equally poised to put their hands on the coveted crown in their respective sporting disciplines.

Karateka Samson Muripo, a world champion by virtue of winning the 3rd International So-Kyokushin Karate Tournament in Ahvaz, Iran in February. In addition to that Muripo went on to attain a new title- Shihan- Japan term that is used in many Japanese martial arts as an honorific title fir expert or senior instructors and it can be translated as “master instructor.”

This followed a five-day Iko World So Kyokushin grading event in India in September as the Zimbabwe So Kyokushin chief instructor and council member of the International Karate Organisation Kyokushinkain made a strong statement towards winning this year’s biggest sporting accolade.

His career is littered with historic achievements although these will not apply to the current awards, in 2009 Muripo became the first ever African World Karate Champion after winning the 1st World Cup Open Karate Tournament in Osaka, Japan.

In 2013 he was named Zimbabwe Sportsman of the Year and after attaining his 5th Dan he is faced with a new task of grooming other athletes from Zimbabwe and the African region which will have a huge impact on his competing career.

Yet with his two biggest achievements for this year, Muripo remains humble and feels honoured to be part of the selected few who stood out in the year under review. If he negotiates his way past the Sportsman of the Year category that has fellow karateka Brian Chiringa and golfer Nyasha Machaza who both did exceptionally well in their respective disciplines will meet an intimidating opposition from the Sports Woman of the Year category.

The category comprise of bodybuilder and reigning Sportsperson of the Year Helen Costa Sinclair, fellow bodybuilder Selina Manuel and marathon runner Rutendo Nyahora.

“I am deeply humbled, all the Glory be unto the Lord our God. I expect the best athlete should win,” Muripo told the Daily News yesterday.

“The process here has nothing more about what I feel or what she (Costa) feels. We did our best as athletes and cannot judge our own works against each other but the duties of the judges’ panel established by the authorities that governs us. After all, the best and only one athlete will win the prestigious award.”

As if singing from the same hymnbook as Muripo, Costa who won the Arnolds Classic’s Women’s Body Fitness (under 163cm) category in South Africa in May has wished the best of luck to all nominees.

“It’s scary, I always get anxious with things like these, I don’t know what to expect but the best of luck to all nominees. I really feel honoured, it’s very encouraging,” Costa told the Daily News.

2017 Annual National Sports Awards Nominees

Sportsman of the Year: Sam Muripo, Brian Chiringa (karate), Nyasha Machaza (golf)

Sportswoman of the Year: Helen Sinclair, Selina Manuel (bodybuilding), Rutendo Nyahora (athletics)

Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability: Margaret Bangajena, Thandiwe Ndlovu, Ratidzo Tomu (wheelchair racing)

Sportsman of the Year with a Disability: Elford Moyo, Samson Muroyiwa (wheelchair racing), Michael Mudyanadzo (golf Special Olympics)

Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Holly Bicknell (rowing), Emily Jones (golf), Tanyaradzwa Muzinda (motocross)

Junior Sportsman of the Year: Chengetai Mapaya (athletics), Terrence O’Hara (swimming), Mehluli 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 Nyathi (athletics T11), Edmore Solomon (athletics T46)

Team of the Year: Zimbabwe Cricket, Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens, Rowing (Kenneth Raynor and Keegan Smith)

Coach of the Year: Heath Streak (cricket), Gilbert Nyamutsamba (rugby), Kristine Johnson (rowing)

Technical Official of the Year: Agnes Chiroodza (netball), Annie Muchenu (basketball), Patrick Mukondiwa (boxing)