WORLD Kyokushin Championships bronze medallist Samson Muripo is hot favourite to win the coveted sportsperson of the year award after the 2009 World champion had another outstanding year in international competitions.
Zimbabwe’s best-performing athletes of the year will be honoured at the Annual National Sports Awards (Ansa) function to be held at Rainbow Towers in Harare tonight.
The awards will feature 13 categories and 41 nominees this year.
The 35-year-old put Zimbabwe on the world map once again when he beat Azerbaijan’s Gulmammadov Mehraj for the third place to win the country’s only medal at the tournament in October.
Muripo followed that up with a stunning success story in Shanghai, China, when he was crowned champion in the World So-Kyokushin Cup International heavyweight category later that month.
Muripo was expected to face stiff competition from the country’s reigning sports person of the year, golfer Brendon de Jongé.
The United States-based golfer enjoyed probably the best season of his professional golf career and also played in the prestigious President’s Cup after being picked by fellow Zimbabwean Nick Price.
De Jongé was however controversially omitted from list of nominees released on November 21. This means Muripo will fight it out for the top accolade with the country’s leading tennis female tennis player Cara Black.
The 34-year-old Black had a strong comeback season on the professional circuit winning three times on the WTA tour, the ASB Classic in January before completing the season with back-to-back titles in Japan and China.
Muripo will also be in for a double as he was also shortlisted for the sportsman of the year award alongside professional tennis player Takanyi Garanganga and reigning African Boxing Union welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi.
The sportswoman of the year award will be contested between Black, Olympic rower Micheen Thornycroft and US-based hockey star Rachel Goromonzi.
Meanwhile, Warriors coach Ian Gorowa — who was a shock inclusion among the nominees — will battle it out for the coach of the year award with Rachel Davies of rowing and well-respected triathlon coach Wayne Davidson.
Davidson is also in the running for the technical official of the year awards where he will battle it with Ginny Ross from the Hockey Association and Joyce Muchenu from basketball. Promising triathlete Laurelle Brown is a hot favourite to win the junior sportswoman of the year for the consecutive year after emerging as Africa’s leading female triathlete in the U-19 category at the continental championships held in Morocco in May.
The Zimbabwe cricket team which posted a historic Test win over Pakistan will battle it out with the national football team and the national U-19 beach volleyball team in the team of the year category.
Full list of nominees
Sportsman of the year: Charles Manyuchi (boxing), Takanyi Garanganga (tennis), Samson Muripo (karate).
Sportswoman of the year: Cara Black (tennis), Micheen Thornycroft (rowing) Rachel Goromonzi (hockey).
Junior sportswoman of the year: Laurelle Brown (triathlon), Nicole Dzenga (tennis), Ruvarashe Mzinde (athletics).
Junior sportsman of the year: Faber Lauchlan (rowing), Michael Songore (athletics), Peter Gilpin (rowing).
Junior sportswoman of the year with a disability: Jenifer Zibamwe (athletics), Patience Majoni (athletics), Laina Sithole (athletics).
Junior sportsman of the year with a disability: Brian Mafuvise (wheelchair tennis), Emmanuel Musara (athletics), Shepherd Banda (wheelchair tennis).
Sportswoman of the year with a disability: Dorcas Hwatira (wheelchair racing), Margret Bangajena (wheelchair racing), Moline Muza (wheelchair tennis).
Sportsman of the year with disability: Daniel Nyuke (wheelchair basketball), Edmund Makutya (wheelchair racing), Elford Moyo (wheelchair racing).
Team of the year: National team Under-19 (beach volleyball), Zimbabwe cricket (cricket), Zimbabwe Warriors (football).
Coach of the year: Ian Gorowa (Warriors), Rachel Jane Davis (rowing), Wayne Davidson (triathlon)
Technical official of the year: Ginny Ross (hockey), Joyce Muchenu (basketball), Wayne Davidson (triathlon).
Sports administration of the year: Triathlon Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Karate Union, Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union.
Sport development of the year: National BMX Association of Zimbabwe, National Darts Association of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Netball Association.
Women in sport award: Eugene Chidhakwa, Anna Mguni