Namibia: Ambunda Not Bitter Over Awards Snub

Former world champion Paulus 'The Rock' Ambunda will "continue to work hard and put Namibia on the map", even after being snubbed by the national awards adjudicators, his trainer Immanuel Moses said.

Ambunda (39) was the most notable omission from the Namibia Sports Awards (Nasa) shortlist announced yesterday.

The annual awards' reception is set for Ondangwa on 26 October.

His IBO super bantamweight world title win over Muhamad Ridhwan in Singapore on 29 September 2018 seemed an insignificant sidenote in a year when no other boxer had surpassed his achievement.

Instead, rising prospect Nathaniel Kakololo, who captured the WBO international featherweight title in March last year, made it to the sportsman of the year final three.

The date of his title victory falls outside the timeframe for consideration for this year's awards. A successful title defence by KO against journeyman Robert Kachiza from Malawi in March appears to have been the basis for his nomination.

Ambunda, a multiple Nasa winner, was unsuccessful in his title defence, losing to American Stephen Fulton on points in May this year. Both his high-profile fights fall under the Nasa 2019 review period, however.

"We submitted his entry form, but when the announcement was made, he was not on the list. We are not angry. There's nothing we can do about it," Moses stated.

"We're not in boxing for awards. Getting an award is a bonus. We won a world title in Singapore, and were recognised worldwide for it. We want to congratulate those who made the nominees list," he said, before adding "we will continue to do what we do best, and that is producing champions."

Ambunda is, however, still eligible for the Sports Star and Peoples' Choice prizes. The former is at the exclusive discretion of the judges, while the latter is voted for by the public via an SMS competition.

"It was not an easy exercise, but we have really tried to gauge every athlete based on their achievements and nomination recommendation," head of the adjudicating panel Lesley Tjiueza said.

One veteran who is among the finalists for the awards at Ondangwa is road-running queen Helalia Johannes, also 39 years old, who recently became the first woman to win a medal for Namibia at the IAAF World Championships.

Johannes was nominated for the sportswoman of the year prize, alongside karateka Suzelle Pronk and canoeing star Maike Diekmann.

The full nominees are:

MTC Sportsman of the year - Hennie Meuwesen (archery), JJ Smit (cricket), Nathanael Kakololo (professional boxing);

MTC Sports Woman of the year - Suzelle Pronk (karate), Helalia Johannes (athletics), Maike Diekmann (canoeing/rowing);

MTC Junior Sportswoman of the year - Requelle Rickerts (karate), Corina Weimann (hockey), Quin Reddig (archery);

MTC Junior Sportsman of the year - Ronan Wantenaar (swimming), Delano Muller (kick-boxing), Christian Coetzee (hockey);

NamPower Sportsman of the year with a disability - Ananias Shikongo, Roodly Gowaseb, Johannes Nambala (all athletics);

NamPower Sportswoman of the year with a disability - Sylvia Shivolo, Martha Hitekalute, Lahja Ishitile (all athletics);

NamPower Junior Sportswoman of the year with a disability - Only one entry to be announced on awards night;

NamPower Junior Sportsman of the year with a disability - Immanuel Alfred, Bradley Delron Murere, Christoph Marungu;

Namdia Coach of the year - Nestor Tobias (boxing), Grant Douglas Dodds (canoeing/rowing), Elifas Namudjebo (boxing);

Umpire of the year - Vistoria Shangula (football), Lars Dobberstein (hockey), Fillemon Mweya (boxing);

Sports Team of the year - Beach Volleyball Team, Inline Hockey Junior Men's Team, Namibia Amateur Golf Team;

Development programme of the year - African Cup Inline Hockey Tournament, Basketball Artist School, Namibia Junior Golf Foundation, and Amateur wrestling.

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