By JACK AMI
WEIGHTLIFTING pair Steven Kari (Male athlete of the Year) and Dika Toua (Female athlete of the Year) are favoured to claim top hours heading into the 27th SP Sports Awards at the Crown Hotel tomorrow night.
Kari and Toua, whose exploits over the course of last year included gold and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, look set to add the SP Awards to their list of previous wins at the annual presentation night sponsored by the South Pacific Brewery.
The awards which were first held in 1992 has seen an array of talented sports men and women recognised for their achievements with greats like swimmer Ryan Pini, kickboxer Stanley Nandex and sprinter Toea Wisil making the honours board.
The weekend’s event will see special guest speaker former beach volleyball champion and Australian Olympic gold medallist and motivational speaker Kerrie Pottharst.
Finalists in 11 categories will vie for awards from top male and female athletes, best junior athletes as well as teams and officials and recognition for notable contributions and service to sport.
Toua, who won her first award in 2000 where she claimed the junior female athlete award, has gone on to claim multiple sportswoman of the year awards including her first on in 2003 and her last one last year.
Also vying for the women’s top award are cricket’s Brenda Tau and tennis pro Abigail Tere- Apisah.
In the men’s stakes, Kari has Muay Thai title holder Lee Henry Garap and cricketer Tony Ura.
In the Junior Male Athlete of the Year category, Geoffrey Loi (table tennis), Leonard Kalate (swimming) and Simon Atai (cricket) are fresh nominees. Vying for the Junior Female award is Violet Apisah (tennis), Rehema Kalate (swimming) and Alice Kwaia (basketball). Apisah has previously been nominated and won the junior award. In the Team of the Year category has the Barramundis (men’s national cricket team), Lewas (national women’s cricket team) and Maleos (national netball mixed team).
By JACK AMI