BODYBUILDER Helen Costa-Sinclair has admitted her shock at winning the Annual National Sports Awards (ANSA) Sportsperson of the Year Award.
BY HENRY MHARA
The 35-year-old emerged as the surprise winner of the top prize at the awards night on Wednesday, on a day the national netball team also got the Team of the Year Award ahead of the history-making Mighty Warriors.
Sinclair, who was also named Sportswoman of the Year beat World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi, who was the overwhelming favourite to land the award, and swimming queen Kirsty Coventry.
Asked if she had expected to win the award, the reigning Ms Musclemania, Ms International and Ms Universe said: “Not at all. I even dragged my son here, I was like you know what, let’s just go and be with the rest of them and support the winners,” Sinclair said.
“When my name was called up, I was really shocked. In a situation like that, you tend to forget your name for a second. Then I was like Oh my God, that is me, really? A bit of shock, but I was filled with happiness. If the adjudicators thought I deserved, it, then maybe I do.”
Manyuchi’s defence of the WBC welterweight title was not enough to see him retain the top gong that he won last year although he won the Sportsman of the Year Award.
“Enough respect to Manyuchi, he so well deserved to win the title. He worked really hard throughout the year and I have respect for him. With me people noticed probably what I have done this year to encourage people in my own initiatives throughout Zimbabwe and in the sporting fraternity and I think that also helped in them deciding who the best person to win the award,” Sinclair said.
The Team of the Year category produced the biggest shock of the night, with the senior netball team winning the prize ahead of the Rio 2016-bound Mighty Warriors, who have also been nominated for the Caf Women’s Team of the Year award.
The Leadwin Dondo-coached netball team won the African Championships, at a tournament played in Botswana, which, however, did not include some of the continent’s powerhouses like South Africa and Malawi, ranked number four and five in the world respectively.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) was at pains yesterday to explain the decision to reward the netball team that award ahead of the Mighty Warriors.
“The criteria used in the adjudication process is based on the ANSA policy which accords progressively greater weight to achievements at different levels of competition from national, regional, continental to international levels. The higher the level of achievement, the more the points earned,” SRC in a statement said.
“They (netball team) achieved this after winning a gold medal at the African Netball Championships hosted in Botswana. The Mighty Warriors, on the other hand, did not win any continental championship and their qualification to Rio 2016 was on the basis of emerging as group winners in one of the four groups in the qualifiers.”
But this is the same board that in 2012 crowned the National Rugby Sevens side the Team of the Year on the basis of qualifying for the World Cup, at the expense of the Sables, who had, just like the netball team, conquered Africa by winning the CAR Africa Cup.