By MARTHA DERUAGE
Hebou Papua New Guinea Barramundis all-rounder Mahuru Dai, pictured, says he hopes to win the male athlete of the year category at the SP Sports Awards before retiring.
The 35-year-old Hanuabada cricketer was shortlisted in the category alongside Gold Coast Commonwealth Games weightlifting silver medallist Morea Baru and PNG Hunters captain Ase Boas.
For the veteran, this is not the first time he has been nominated for the SP Sports Awards.
In 2005, Dai was chosen for two different categories; best junior male athlete and best senior male athlete of the year.
He won the junior male athlete of the year.
In 2007, Dai was one of the finalists for the male athlete of the year, but did not win.
This year, Dai said he was proud to be nominated again.
“Three years ago, my friends were asking me when I would retire,” Dai said.
“But I told them I still had some goals to achieve and this is one of them.”
Growing up in a family who were involved in cricket and rugby league, it was only natural that he developed the interest at a young age.
In 1996, when he was 13 years old, he played in an U17 team and the following year, he played in an U19 side.
Dai said he also played rugby league but his interest was always around cricket.
Dai’s performance last year with the PNG Barramundis (men’s national team) in the South Australian Cricket Association saw him score some impressive centuries.
He also competed earlier this year at the ODI World Cup qualifiers in Harare, Zimbabwe.
When asked about his plans for the next few years, Dai said as long as he was fit, he would continue playing before considering retirement.
But when that day comes, Dai said he hopes to give back to cricket by becoming a coach.
By MARTHA DERUAGE