KARATE superstar Samson Muripo is the favourite to win the Sportsperson and Sportsman of the Year gongs when the Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa) are held on December 13 in Harare.
The karateka, who won the Third International So-kyokushin Karate tournament senior men open weight in February, is one of the three nominees for the Sportsman of the Year category and will fight it out with fellow karateka Brian Chiringa and golfer Nyasha Machaza.
While the competition is looking stiff for Muripo to win the ultimate honour, as his competitors also did well in their different disciplines, the fact that he is a world champion could sway the votes in his favour.
Bodybuilder Helen Sinclair, the reigning Sportswoman of the Year, could prove a good challenger for the award after yet another good season, where she came first in the Arnold Classic International competition.
Triple jumper Chengetai Mapaya won a gold medal at the Africa Junior championships earlier this year, putting him in command position for the Junior Sportsman of the Year title, while the Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens team and their coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba are favourites to land the Team and Coach of the Year awards respectively.
The team won a silver medal at the Rugby Africa Sevens tournament to book a ticket at next year’s Sevens Rugby World Cup to be held in San Francisco, the United States.
The list of nominees for the awards, which are organised by the Sports Commission to recognise and celebrate the highest accomplishments by athletes, coaches, and administrators, was announced yesterday.
Sportsman of the Year: Sam Muripo, Brian Chiringa (karate), Nyasha Machaza (golf)
Sportswoman of the Year: Helen Sinclair, Selina Manuel (bodybuilding), Rutendo Nyahora (athletics)
Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability: Margaret Bangajena, Thandiwe Ndlovu, Ratidzo Tomu (wheelchair racing)
Sportsman of the Year with a Disability: Elford Moyo, Samson Muroyiwa (wheelchair racing), Michael Mudyanadzo (golf Special Olympics)
Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Holly Bicknell (rowing), Emily Jones (golf), Tanyaradzwa Muzinda (motocross)
Junior Sportsman of the Year: Chengetai Mapaya (athletics), Terrence O’Hara (swimming), Mehluli Sibanda (tennis)
Junior Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability: Pelagia Chidhakwa (athletics IC), Elizabeth Matupe (athletics T12), Siphosami Moyo (athletics T11)
Junior Sportsman of the Year with a Disability: Munorwa Changakungwa (athletics T46), Raymond Nyathi (athletics T11), Edmore Solomon (athletics T46)
Team of the Year: Zimbabwe Cricket, Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens, Rowing (Kenneth Raynor and Keegan Smith)
Coach of the Year: Heath Streak (cricket), Gilbert Nyamutsamba (rugby), Kristine Johnson (rowing)
Technical Official of the Year: Agnes Chiroodza (netball), Annie Muchenu (basketball), Patrick Mukondiwa (boxing)