The National , Monday, May 30, 2011
By HENRY MORABANG
TWO of the country’s elite athletes swimmer Ryan Pini and sprinter Toea Wisil were awarded the 2010 SP Sportsman and woman of the year titles in Port Moresby on Saturday.
Wisil is a success story of the PNG Grassroots Games when she was first identified at the inaugural event in Goroka in 2003.
A barefoot runner from Minj, Wisil has made an amazing transition from raw talent to world class athlete in a short period.
Wisil is arguably PNG’s leading female track athlete and the award reaffirms her growth and success as an athlete.
A humbled Pini picked up his fifth top award and said he was always honoured to attend the annual event and said he had been through some testing times last year but thanked his family, coaches and support staff for keeping him in competition form.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallist (Melbourne 2006) said his main goal was to be ready for the London Olympics next year but he would be at the Pacific Games.
Special guest speaker and one of Australia’s most successful gymnasts, Brennon Dowrick, was stressed the virtues of courage, discipline and determination in athletes if they wanted to attain the highest goal in sport.
The night’s theme “Going for Gold” was fitting as Dowrick encouraged the PNG athletes to strive to do their best and to appreciate that the journey and process of achieving the goal was just as important as the achievement itself.
Hekari United picked up Team of the Year award – a first for soccer in the annual premier sports awards event.
PNG Athletics Union president Tony Green, was awarded for distinguished services to Sports and cricketer John Ovia took out coach of the year.
William Maba scooped the national performance award.
Former kickboxing champion Stanley Nandex was named sports administrator of the year.
In disability sports, Timothy Harabe won the award for sports person with a disability and Frank Robby picked up the award for technical official.
Steven Mase of FM 100 took out the sports reporter award.
Junior male athlete went to weightlifter Steven Kari.
Tennis player Marcia Tere Apisah won the junior female athlete award while the PNG U19 cricket team, the Garamuts, won the award for the junior team of the year.