HARARE – Zimbabwe Sevens Rugby team completed a double over their cricket counterparts beating them into second place in the Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa) Team and Coach of the Year categories on Wednesday night.
The Cheetahs were awarded Team of the Year accolade while Zim Cricket came second and the rowing pair of Kenneth Raynor and Keegan Smith was in third place.
This was in recognition of the Sevens’ successful campaign which saw them qualify for next year’s Sevens World Cup to be held in San Francisco, United States.
Zimbabwe cricket team’s nomination was on the back of their historic One Day International series first ever victory against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka last July while the rowing team made of Kenneth Raynor and Keegan Smith made it to the Junior World Championships.
With the Team of the Year tucked in the Cheetahs bag, there was no denying head coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba the Coach of the Year award again beating into second place Zimbabwe cricket coach Heath Streak and Kristine Johnson of rowing into third place.
South African-based tennis ace Mehluli Sibanda also scored big on the night after walking away with the Junior Sports person of the Year award ahead of Motocross wonder kid Tanya Muzinda after the team won their respective Junior Men and Junior Sports awards.
Muzinda triumphed over rower Holly Bicknell in second and golfer Tariro Jones in third in the Junior Sports Woman of the Year category while in his category Sibanda defeated Chengetayi Mapaya (athletics) and swimmer Terence Liam O’Hara who claimed third place.
Sports Woman of the Year with a Disability went to wheelchair racer Margaret Bangajena, Thandiwe Ndlovu and Ratidzo Tosu both wheelchair racers came second and third respectively while Elford Moyo (wheelchair racing) bagged the Sports Man of the Year with a Disability ahead of Samson Muroyiwa (wheelchair racing) and Special Olympics golfer Michael Mudyanadzo.
The biggest award of the night however, went to Karateka Samson Muripo who was named Sports Person of the Year. Muripo emerged victorious in the male category where he beat fellow karateka Brian Chiringa and golfer Nyasha Machazana into their respective second and third places to set a gruelling battle with bodybuilder and 2016 Sportsperson of the Year Helen Costa who had made light work of athletics star Rutendo Nyahora and bodybuilder Selina Manuel who came third.
Muripo, a world champion courtesy of winning the 3rd International So-Kyokushin Karate Tournament in Ahvaz, Iran in February was handed the crown much to the appreciation of the packed auditorium.
Annie Joyce Muchenu of basketball was voted Technical Official of the Year followed by boxing’s Patrick Mukondiwa and Agnes Chiroodza of netball while the Sports Adminstration of the Year went to Zimbabwe Aquatic Union, Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation came second and Rowing Association of Zimbabwe in third.
Karate also had moments to savour after the Zimbabwe Karate Union walked away with the Sports Development of the Year Award ahead of Zimbabwe Ladies Golf and Equestrian Zimbabwe.
In recognition of women in sport, swimimng’s Lorna Margaret Riley claimed the Women and Sports Award; netball’s Leticia Chipandu took second place with Mighty Warriors’ Rosemary Mugadza completing the line-up in third.