Malawi's top female boxer Anisha Bashir, the first to win the Commonwealth lightweight boxing that took place in 2018, has been nominated in two of this year's Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA) -- the Sportswoman as well as Sportsperson of the Year awards alongside favourites, athletes Caster Simenya of South Africa, Lerato Sechele Lesotho and Zimbabwean martial artist Wilfred Mashaya.
The fourth edition of the RASA, organised by the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region5, will be hosted in Windhoek, Namibia on May 25, 2019 and has four other Malawians nominated in Christina Mkwanda Munji (Malawi U-20 netball) as Coach of the Year; athlete Moneyi Chingaipe as best Junior Female Sportsperson; chess player Blessings Kamanga as best Junior Male Sportsperson and Malawi Under-20 netball as Sports Team of the Year.
All these Malawi sportspersons won same awards during the second red carpet edition of the Malawi Sport Awards at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on February 22, 2019.
Bashir was honoured for winning the first female Commonwealth Games lightweight boxing belt and become the first female African to do so. She is also now ranked fourth by Boxrec.com.
Chingaipe was voted for her Gold Medal triumph in 3000m at the AUSC Regional 5 Youth Games in Botswana and for dominating local events being the champion of 2018 open track in 1500m at Bingu National Stadium.
Kamanga, a student at Karibu Academy, was honoured for winning the Presidential Initiative on Sports chess championship, qualified for the Zone 4.3 U-16 Championship, qualified and played in the schools Championship in Limpopo South Africa and finished with 4 points; won all games and drew one in the 2018 National Chess Championship U-18 category to emerged champion, received an award by the Chess Association of Malawi as the 2018 Most Improved Junior Chess Player and is the highest rated male chess player in his age group.
The Malawi national Under-20 national team were honoured for winning silver medal at AUSC Region5 Games in Botswana alongside their coach, Christina Mkwanda Munji.
AUSC Region5 is the sports arm of the African Union, which was once the Organisation of African Unity. It was formed in the 1960s and its headquarters is based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The main aim of the AUSC is to use sports to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa i.e. sport as a vehicle of encouraging people to develop and come together, irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender.
The AUSC divided Africa into seven competition zones due to the vastness of the continent and for financial prudence. The main consi-deration was the countries' geographical positions. It is from this that AUSC Region was born.
Other nominees are Zimbabwean Gilbert Nyamutsamba (rugby sevens) and South African Samuel Sepeng (athletics), joining Malawian
Christina Mkwanda Munji as Coach of the Year; Tinashe Tirivavi of Zimbabwe Mirror and Motshidi Mohono and Limba Mupetani of Namibian Sun as Journalist of the Year; Zimbabwean Lorryn Ashley Bass (rowing) and athlete Manqabang Tsibela from Lesotho joining Malawian Muneyi as best Junior Female Sportsperson.
Joining chess player Blessings Kamanga for Junior Male Sportsperson are Zambian athlete Kennedy Luchembe and squash player Ryan Gwidzima from Zimbabwe
In National Sports Team the Year are also Botswana's athletics 4+4 and SA's Banyana Banyana while Isaac Makwala (athletics Botswana); Wilfred Mashaya (martial arts Zimbabwe) and Chad Le Clos (athletics SA) are in Sportsman of the Year category.
Sportsman with Disability nominees are Ndondanzi Jonathan Ntutu (athletics SA); Celestino Elias Antonio (football Angola) and Ananias Shikongo (athletics Namibia).