- No room for Governor of the year category
- Female Footballer of the year also dropped
Rave of the moment, Nigerian-born New Zealand based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight titleholder, Israel Adesanya was unveiled yesterday as one of the nominees for the prestigious 2019 Nigerian Sports Award.
Since the beginning of the year, Adesanya, who hails from Odogbolu in Ogun State, has been the talking point in international sports, flying Nigeria’s flag from one country to another in the money-spinning UFC arena.
Among other victories, Adesanya defeated homeboy, Robert Whittaker by KO to become the middleweight champion at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia on October 6. He will battle with two Nigerian female wrestlers, Blessing Oborududu and Odunayo Adekuoroye for the Combat Sports Person of the year award.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday, Chairman of the Award Panel, Dr. Kweku Tandoh stated that the 2019 edition of the award, which holds on November 29 at Eko hotel, is tagged ‘Naija Flavour.’
“Everyone coming for the 2019 award ceremony must be on Nigerian traditional attire,” Tandoh stated yesterday, just as he noted that the expectation for this year’s edition was to surpass the records received in the last edition. He urged the media to join in the effort to raise public consciousness for voting.
Executive Director of the award, Kayode Idowu disclosed that some categories, including the Governor of the year, were dropped from the 2019 edition due to ‘no performance.’
The categories for this year awards include Racket Sports Person of the Year (Lawn Tennis, Table Tennis, Badminton and Squash), Team Sports Person of the Year (Handball, Volleyball, Football, Basketball), Combat Sports Personality of the Year (Wrestling, Karate, Judo, Taekwondo and Boxing), Individual sports person of the year (Weightlifting, Athletics), Basketball player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Discovery of the Year, Footballer of the Year (male and female), Journalists of the year (Print, radio, television and photo).
North Cyprus-based Nigerian long jumper, Ese Brume, will battle against Blessing Okagbare and Tobi Amusan for the Athletics Star of the year. Brume, who won Nigeria’s only medal, a bronze, at the 2019 IAAF World Championship in Doha, is also shortlisted alongside female basketball star, Evelyn Ekhator, for the Sports Woman of the year award.
Sports Minister, Sunday Dare recently pledged to provide necessary support for organisers of the Nigerian Sports Award as part of efforts to motivate the country’s athletes.