Karateka Samson Muripo underlined his status as one of the top athletes in the country when he returned to the podium to scoop the Sportsperson of the Year at the Annual National Sports Awards ceremony in Harare last night. This is the second time the former world champion has won the award. He first grabbed the accolade in 2009, when he carved his name into the small elite club of the greatest athletes in the history of Zimbabwean sport, when he became the nation's first black world champion.
This was after he had won gold in the men's middleweight category at the Kyokushin Union World Cup in Japan. This year proved to be another fine year for the top karateka, as he clinched gold in the senior men open weight at the Third International So-Kyokushin Karate Tournament in Ahvaz, Iran, in February. Muripo made his presence felt at the high profile tournament as he went on to claim second position in the Under-90kg weight division and third place in the Kata competition.
He also consolidated his status as one of the best karatekas to emerge from this country after he successfully went through a technical dan promotion to fifth dan in India to become a Shihan (master) in September. He takes over the Sportsperson title from Charles Manyuchi, who won the 2016 award. It was a double for Muripo, as he also walked away with the Sportsman of the Year Award ahead of fellow karateka Brian Chiringa and golfer Nyasha Mauchaza.
The Junior Sportsperson of the Year went to tennis star Mehluli Sibanda. He also got the Junior Sportsman of the Year Award. Sibanda was on top of his game this year, and some his achievements include two International Tennis Federation 18-and-Under South Central Circuit singles titles. He went on to claim two titles in the doubles during the same event. Sibanda was also with the Davis Cup team in Egypt in July.
Bodybuilder Helen Costa Sinclair grabbed the Sportswoman of the Year Award, while female motocross rider Tanya Muzinda is the Junior Sportswoman of the Year. She won two bronze medals at two major motocross events in England in May and September this year. Margaret Bangajena took the Sportswoman of the Year living with a disability and the Sportsman of the Year with a disability went to Elford Moyo.
It was a night to remember too for the Zimbabwe Sevens rugby side after the Cheetahs won the Team of the Year Award and their mentor Gilbert Nyamutsamba was crowned Coach of the Year. Under the guidance of Nyamutsamba, the Cheetahs completed a fine year by qualifying for the Rugby Sevens World Cup scheduled for the United States in July next year.
Zimbabwe Aquatic Union got the Sports Administration of the Year accolade. They are one of the few national sport associations that are in full compliance with the Sports Commission's statutes. Zimbabwe Karate Union, who have now made it a habit to win ANSA awards, were also not to be outdone as they got the Sports Development Award.
Outstanding organisations and sponsors who have contributed in the development and promotion of sport were recognised with the Special Acknowledgement awards. And these include Prophet Walter Magaya, ZBC and Mashonaland West Province.
Sportsperson of the Year
Samson Muripo (karate).
Junior Sportsperson of the Year
Mehluli Don Sibanda (tennis).
Junior Sportswoman of the Year
1. Tanyaradzwa Muzinda (motocross), 2. Holly Bicknell (rowing), 3. Emily Tariro Jones (golf).
Junior Sportsman of the Year
1. Mehluli Don Sibanda (tennis), 2. Chengetayi Mapaya (athletics), 3. Terence Liam O"Hara (swimming).
Junior Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability
1. Siphosami Moyo (athletics T11), 2. Pelagia Chidhakwa (athletics IC), 3. Elizabeth Matupe (athletics T12).
Junior Sportsman of the Year with a Disability
1. Edmore Solomon (athletics T46), 2. Raymond Nyati (athletics T11), 3. Munorwei Chakanyuka (athletics T46).
Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability
1. Margaret Bangajena (wheelchair racing), 2. Thandiwe Ndlovu (wheelchair racing), 3. Ratidzo Tomu (wheelchair racing).
Sportsman of the Year with a Disability
1. Elford Moyo (wheelchair racing), 2. Samson Muroyiwa (wheelchair racing), 3. Michael Mudyanadzo (Golf Special Olympics).
Sportswoman of the Year
1. Helen Costa Sinclair (bodybuilding), 2. Rutendo Nyahora (athletics), 3. Selina Manuel (bodybuilding).
Sportsman of the Year
1. Samson Muripo (karate), 2. Brian Chiringa (karate), 3. Nyasha Mauchaza (golf).
Team of the Year
1. Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens (Cheetahs - rugby), 2. Zimbabwe Cricket Team (Chevrons - cricket), 3. Kenneth Raynor & Keegan Smith (rowing).
Coach of the Year
1. Gilbert Nyamutsamba (rugby), 2. Heath Hilton Streak (cricket), 3. Kristine Johnson (rowing).
Technical Official of the Year
1. Annie Joyce Muchenu (basketball), 2. Patrick Mukondiwa (boxing), 3. Agnes Chiroodza (netball).
Sports Administration of the Year
1. Zimbabwe Aquatic Union 2. Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation, 3. Rowing Association of Zimbabwe.
Sports Development of the Year
1. Zimbabwe Karate Union, 2. Zimbabwe Ladies Golf, 3. Equestrian Zimbabwe.
Women and Sports Award
1. Lorna Margaret Riley (swimming), 2. Leticia Chipandu, 3. Rosemary Mugadza.
Special Acknowledgement Award
Prophet Walter Magaya, ZBC, Mashonaland West Province.
Good Governance Acknowledgement
Rowing Association of Zimbabwe, Triathlon Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Archery Association, Zimbabwe Equestrian Federation, Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union, Zimbabwe Karate Union, Zimbabwe Motor Sports Federation, Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, Zimbabwe Aquatic Union.