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Mandaza first African to be crowned sportsman of the year

09 Oct, 2020 - 00:10 0 Views

The Herald

The Rhodesian Herald, 10 October 10 1970

FOR the first time in its 14-year history, an African has been chosen as Sportsman of the Year.

Last night at the banquet held in Salisbury, Artwell Mandaza was presented with the coveted John Hopley trophy after being voted top sportsman by the Rhodesian Sportswriters Association.

Amid tumultuous applause, Mr Owen Williams, the well-known South African tennis promoter who presented the award, announced the winner and Mandaza, Rhodesia’s fastest athlete, became the first African to reach the final and win the trophy.

The “Mangula flyer” has established himself as the fastest man in Rhodesian athletics history, and is now firmly ranked among the world’s best.

Already, the Rhodesian star has become the fastest man in the world this year, along with Cuban Pablo Montes, and although their times for the 100 metres of 9,9 seconds are world records, they were wind assisted.

Mandaza has a legal best of 10,2 seconds, which is a national record and ranks him joint 10th in the world this year.

“I am very pleased to have won tonight,” said a delighted Artwell Mandaza last night, “and I hope that our sports leaders will help us to compete with other athletes in the future.”

LESSONS FOR TODAY

This month marks the first anniversary since the death of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated sprinters, Artwell Mandaza,? whose career blossomed during the colonial period.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, what virtual events has the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, together with the Sports and Recreation Commission lined up to celebrate Mandaza’s contribution to the field athletics? What permanent developmental programmes are in place to ensure that these legends continue to inspire current generations?

At the peak of his career, the sprinter nicknamed the “Mhangula Meteor” had collected many accolades. If Rhodesia was not under United Nations sanctions, he could have competed more on the international arena.

Sports and Recreation Commission director-general Prince Mupazviriho said of Mandaza when he passed on: “Artwell, though he was retired, was one of the first inductees of the Zimbabwe National Hall of Fame in 2005, alongside other athletes like George ‘Mastermind’ Shaya, Nick Price, Dave Houghton, among others.”

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