By Staff Reporter
SPORTS journalists in the country were yesterday honored with awards in various categories at the inaugural Zimbabwe Sports Media Awards that were hosted by the Sports Writers Association of Zimbabwe (SWAZ) in Harare.
The glamorous occasion was supported by Tanganda Tea Company, National Foods, Herentals Group of Colleges and Zimbabwe Cricket who came on board to partner SWAZ in hosting the awards.
Austin Karonga of Daily News won the sports journalist of the year in print media whilst Blessing Malinganiza of H-Metro was the runner-up.
Anashe Murombedzi of Heart and Soul won the sports journalist of the year in electronic media whereas Trevor Makonyonga of Bustop TV won the sports journalist of the year for online media.
The female sports journalist of the year award went to Veronica Gwaze of Sunday Mail whilst Kundai Mudzviti of Business Mail won the young sports journalist of the year.
The winners walked away with price money and food hampers from the National Foods.
Speaking at the occasion, guest of honor Sebastian Garikayi who is the acting director general of the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) thanked sports writers in the country for the resilience and commitment they had shown in 2020 which was marred by difficulties posed by covid-19 and lockdown regulations.
“2020 have been an extraordinarily challenging year for the sporting sector with the coming in of covid-19 which sidelined a lot of sporting activities world over. The number of spectators after the resumption of sporting activities in stadiums and various sporting arena recently was close to none but everyone was able to follow sport through the works of sports writers as they have brought stadiums and sporting arenas to the people risking it all. Every newspaper back page had sports stories and every radio and television segment meant for sports actually had programs for sports,” he said.
In a speech read on his behalf by SWAZ executive committee member Judith Kajuma, SWAZ Secretary General Mehluli Sibanda reiterated that the year 2020 has been a very difficult year for all sports writers especially in the country due to the covid-19 induced lockdown hence the need to honor scribers who went “out of their way” to ensure the continuation of sports reporting.
“This has been a difficult year for sports journalists the world over and in particular scribes in Zimbabwe where most of the sporting action was scrapped due to the coronavirus. We have seen it fit to hold these awards to honor the men and women who went out of their way to ensure that the readers, listeners and viewers were kept informed on the latest sporting news,” said Sibanda.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) executive committee member Brenna Matendera assured sports reporters that as the journalist representative body, their organization will ensure universal accreditation for all sports writers so as to easy the challenge of accessing different sporting facilities for purposes of news gathering being faced by many sports reporters.
The event was graced by various sports stakeholders among them friends of the warriors represented by its secretary general Zivanai Muwashu who presented the warriors’ replica jerseys to SWAZ’s executive members amongst them Goodwill Zunidza who is the chairperson of the association.
SWAZ is the country’s internationally recognized representative body for sports journalists in Zimbabwe which is officially affiliated to the International Sports Press Association.