Who says perseverance does not pay – veteran long distance runner Beata Naigambo, scooped the prestigious MTC Sports Woman of the Year award at the National Sports Commission (NSC) sports awards ceremony at a local hotel last night.
Longtime campaigner, Naigambo, was duly rewarded for her astonishing showing in Spain that saw her clinching a gold medal, subsequently booking a ticket to the Rio Olympics in Brazil.
Naigambo brushed off competition from short-listed candidates shottist Gaby Ahrens and Vera Adrian (cyclist). Rudolph de Wet Moolman walked away with the MTC Sportsman of the Year accolade ahead of boxer Paulus Ambunda and marathon athlete and Olympic finalist Mynhardt Kauanivi.
On a night largely dominated by athletes with disabilities, Ananias Shikongo was the proud recipient of the Nampower Sportsman with Disability of the Year award in a category that included fellow Olympians Johannes Nambala and Ruben Soroseb.
Johanna Benson had little trouble retaining the Nampower Sportswoman with Disability award at the expense of Rosa Mandjoro while Lahja Omagano Ishitile was voted the best Nampower Junior Sportswoman with Disability.
Delamo Muller (kickboxing) was voted the best athlete in the MTC Junior Sportsman of the Year award category, leaving the likes of Herbert Peters (cycling) and karateka Burger Rowan lurking behind.
Mayonne Swarts (karate) crowned a brilliant season when she was unanimously given the thumbs up to take stewardship of the MTC Junior Sportswoman of the Year award.
As widely expected, the 4x100m Namibian men’s relay team easily claimed the much sought-after NBL Sports Team of the Year award – ahead of the national senior rugby team and the national senior hockey side.
Michael Hamukwaya, proved an easy choice as the ever -present dreadlocked mentor was bestowed with the Coca Cola Coach of the Year award. Abes Hafentyane walked away with the Nampower Junior Sportsman with Disability Award.
Football was not to be outdone either, as FIFA-accredited referee Jackson Pavaza (NFA) won the Coca Cola Umpire/Referee of the Year award hands down – completing a memorable night.
However, the gathering left a slight bad taste in the mouth with murmurs of discontent uttered loosely by a few aggrieved sections within the media fraternity. Sports scribe Helge Schutz, questioned the judges’ wisdom to leave the national junior cricket side out of the three short-listed candidates.
“We are not here to award athletes for participation or how good they fared at august events, our mandate is to award deserved winners and sadly the said cricket team finished a distant seventh,” charged the NSC Sports Awards Judges Chairman, Lesley Tjiueza.
The bulky popular sports presenter said beating South Africa in the same competition should not be used as a yardstick to determine the team’s ultimate destiny.
He also questioned the rationale behind Helge Schutz’s interpretation of justice wanting to know why the brother is not questioning the national Under-17 football team’s omission from the short-listed candidates in the best team of the year category.
“This is absolute selective memory, punctuated by poor judgment aided by misplaced loyalty, so to speak,” Tjiueza said.