WINDHOEK – Namibia’s dethroned World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight world champion, Paulus ‘The Rock’ Ambunda, was overwhelmingly voted the biggest winner at the weekend’s MTC Namibia Sports Commission annual sports awards, hosted at the Windhoek Country Club on Friday evening.
Ambunda scooped the prestigious Sports Achiever of the Year award, which carries a handsome prize of N$100 000. Ambunda became Namibia’s 3rd boxer to win a world title early this year, a result that weighed heavily in his favour to earn him the top accolade at the country’s richest sports awards.
In addition, Ambunda was earlier this year bestowed the crown of Best African Boxer of the Year for the third time in a row by the WBO. His impressive record of 20 wins and one defeat out of 21 fights speaks volumes in terms of his success, despite losing his world crown to Japanese Tomoki Kameda via an unanimous points defeat after a closely contested bout in his first defence.
Another former world champion, Paulus ‘The Hitman’ Moses, who now holds the WBO international lightweight title, clinched the Sportsman of the Year award (N$50 000), while sprinting ace Tjipee Herunga was a desrved winner in the Sportswoman of the Year category (N$50 000).
Namibia’s ‘Golden Girl’ Johanna Benson was the proud recipient of the Disabled Sportswoman of the Year award that comes along with N$50 000, while Johannes Nambala emerged tops in the Disabled Sportsman of the Year category (N$50 000), following his unmatched showing at this year’s International Paralymics Committee World Championships, where he scooped gold in the men’s T13 400m final.
Swimmer Lushano Lambrecht walked away with the Junior Sportsman of the Year award – pocketing N$30 000 in the process, while fellow swimmer Zanre Oberholzer clinched the female category (N$30 000).
Athlete Itemba Eliakim won the Disabled Junior Sportsman of the Year (N$30 000), while Lahja Ishitule walked away with N$30 000 in the Disabled Junior Sportswoman of the Year category.
Cycling sensation Costa Seibeb’s efforts finally paid off when he was rewarded with the Most Improved Sportsperson of the year award (N$20 000).
Cricket Namibia’s junior team won the category for Team of the Year, with the Namibia Tennis Association walking away with the best Sports Development Programme of the Year award, while veteran sports administrator Laurie Pieters was named Administrator of the Year.
Internationally acclaimed boxing promoter Nestor Tobias for the upteenth time won the Coach of the Year award, in recognition of his hard work. Tobias has been at the forefront of Namibian boxing and masterminded Namibia’s former world champions, Ambunda and Moses.
Boxing refereee Timo Haikonda won the Referee/Umpire of the Year award, while Marie Ndimbira took honours in the category Volunteer of the Year.
For the very first time in the history of the annual awards, a category for Lifetime Achievers was introduced – much to the excitement and appreciation of those in attendance as they witnessed former greats Joseph Shikongo, aka Joe Archer in boxing circles, and Karl Persendt (rugby) being honoured for their oustanding achievements in the past, while the trio of Jan Ellis (rugby), Doc Hardley and Brian Greaves (both football) were posthumously recognized for their unquestionable talent and overall contribution towards the growth and success of Namibian sport.
By Otniel Hembapu