‘Blue Machine’ Indongo tops MTC/NSC Sports Awards… 2017 wrapped up in style

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-Namibia’s former triple world champion Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo walked away with the prestigious Sportsman of the Year and Sports Star of the Year accolades at the annual MTC/Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Sports Awards held in the capital on Friday night, making him the biggest winner on the night.

Indongo dominated local and international headlines this year when he dethroned Russia’s Edward Troyanovsky to capture both the IBF and IBO world super lightweight titles, and that success was soon followed by another splendid performance, which saw the lanky Namibian outpointing Scotsman Ricky Burns to add the coveted WBA world super lightweight title to his trophy cabinet.

With that achievement, Indongo became Namibia’s first ever triple world champion as he simultaneously held the WBA, IBF and IBO world titles at the same time – no other local boxer has achieved that. Unfortunately, Indongo lost all his belts to American boxing sensation Terence Crawford during their full unification bout in the USA, which saw Crawford putting his WBO and WBC titles on the line.

With Friday’s awards, Indongo took home N$300,000 in total after receiving a floating trophy and N$100,000 in prize monies for the Sportsman of the Year award and a whopping N$200,000 and a trophy for the Sports Star of the Year accolade. Namibia’s veteran marathon runner Helalia Johannes, who finished second at this year’s Cape Town marathon, amongst other competitions, scooped the Sportswoman of the Year award and pocketed N$100,000 in prize money. Para-athlete Johannes Nambala was honoured with the Sportsman of the Year with Disability and Lahja Ishitile as Sportswoman of the Year with Disability and each pocketed N$100,000. Dian Jansen received the Junior Sportsman of the Year with Disability award and Olivia Iyambo the Junior Sportswoman of the Year with Disability award and both walked away N$30,000 each. Charlize van Zyl was named the Junior Sportswoman of the Year and Delano Muller the Junior Sportsman of the Year and each got N$50,000. Brave Gladiators former mentor Jacky Shipanga was awarded the NSC Chairman’s Excellence award and N$30,000 in prize money.

Jackson Pavaza received the Umpire/Referee of the Year accolade and prize money worth N$30,000, while Namibia’s renowned boxing promoter-cum-trainer Nestor Tobias took home the Coach of the Year award, also walking away with N$30,000. New Era newspaper’s Otniel Hembapu scooped the Sports Journalist of the Year award.

Netball Namibia received the Best Development Programme of the Year award and got N$100,000. Namibia’s Under-20 rugby team walked away with the Team of the Year award and N$100,000 in prize money.

This year’s awards marked the 14th edition of the prestigious event, which honours and rewards the country’s past and present sports heroes. The 2017 edition was held under the theme ‘Celebrating our sports heroes of yesterday and today’ and were sponsored by MTC, Nampower, Tafel Lager and the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), while Confidénte newspaper and Radio Energy were the awards’ media partners.

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