Gaborone — Botswana 400m runner, Karabo Sibanda has made it to the Regional Annual Sport Awards (RASA) top three list, which was released May 23.
The third edition of the RASA awards will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 26.
Sibanda is pitted against Africa's finest long jumper, Luvo Manyonga from South Africa and a karateka from Zimbabwe, Samson Muripo in the sportsperson of the year category.
Sibanda might face a stiff competition from Manyonga looking at their achievements. Sibanda was Botswana's only finalist at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and finished on position five with a time of 44.25. He was ranked the second fastest junior in 400m in the world in 2016.
He won a bronze medal at the 2016 World Junior Athletics Championships in Poland and helped Botswana win gold medal in 4x400m relay during the African Senior Championships in Durban.
On the other hand, Manyonga won a gold medal at the IAAF World championships and won Diamond League meeting four times. Also, he is the current 2017 National
Champion, African Record holder and had managed to break the National Record twice in 2017.
Muripo won gold, silver and bronze at the So-Kyokushin Karate Tournament in Ahvaz, Iran, in 2017.
Talking about the award, track and field analyst, Billy Tambula said Manyonga had an upper hand given that he won silver and gold at the Olympic and World Championships respectively. He said the long jumper also dominated 2017 in all global events, adding that his consistency and achievements ever since he came back from suspension puts him on top.
Talking about Sibanda's achievements, he said in 2016 he performed exceptionally well in both his age category and seniors.
"The injury that destructed his progress in 2017 will be a factor, which might see him falling below other nominees. He needed to have managed at least a medal in any continental or international event in 2017 to be in a very good place to get it," he said.
Sibanda also got a nod in the junior sportsman of the year category. His contenders are Zambian Kennedy Luchembe of athletics, Thandolwethu Motsa of Taekwondo from eSwatini,
In the junior sportswoman of the year, Botswana's tennis star, Tshegofatso Tsiang is pitted against Namibian Charlize Van Zyl of gymnastics and Zimbabwean Tanyaradzwa Muzinda of Motorcross. In the sportswoman of the year, Onkemetse Francis of chess will battle it out with South African athlete, Caster Semenya and Malawian footballer, Tabitha Chawinga.
For the sports team of the year Botswana 4x400m men will fight for the prestigious award with Springbok Sevens Team, and Zambia Football U20 National Team and for the coach of the year, athletics coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe is pitted against Jean Verster, who is also athletics coach in South Africa and football gaffer, Beston Chambeshi from Zambia.
Source : BOPA