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2017 SP Sports Awards finalists announced today

CALLING THE FINALISTS: PNGOC Female Vice Presient, Emma Waiwai (left) and Chair of the SPSA Selection Committee, Moses Koiri at the announcement of the finalists today. PHOTO: A. Molen/ PNGOC.


A five-member selection panel sat last week to deliberate on more than 60 nominations that were received from around Papua New Guinea, and reached a consensus for the top three finalists for each of the 11 categories on offer in this year’s SP Sports Awards.

This year nominations were slow but picked up after a one week extension of the closing date for entries, to the delight of the SP Sports Awards (SPSA) Committee. Apart from the National Capital District, a good number of the entries received were from the other provinces.

Chairperson for the SPSA Selection Panel, Moses Koiri said: “Being nominated is an achievement in itself as it demonstrates recognition by the sporting community and public at large. However, there can only be three finalists for each category and one final winner, when announcements are made during the presentation night. But it’s important to note that they are all outstanding sportsmen and women in their own right.” 

Nominations for this year’s awards are made in respect of performances and achievements in 2016 and covers a wide range of sporting codes including rugby league, weightlifting, cricket, tennis, basketball, table tennis, athletics, football (soccer), swimming, karate and para-sport.

The SPSA committee also acknowledged the finalists for the Sports Media Award and the Photo of the Year categories which are important awards recognizing the contribution of the media in promoting the positive values of sport and the achievements and efforts of our athletes and officials.

SPSA Chairman, Andrew Lepani said 2016 has recorded some notable sporting events in PNG, with the FIFA Women’s U20, which was staged in Port Moresby, being the highlight along with Team PNG’s participation at the Olympic Games in Rio.

There were other elite sporting activities that also took place both nationally and internationally which saw sporting codes such as weightlifting, netball and rugby league excelling in their respective events.

Lepani thanked the public for participating in the SP Sports Awards through their nominations and congratulated the finalists for each category.

He also encouraged them to participate in the People’s Choice Award by voting for the sports personality of their choice by selecting one of the three finalists in the Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Team of the Year and the National Performance of the Year awards.

To vote people can send an SMS code for each of the finalist of their choice to 1600. The codes are;

Male Athlete of the Year:

  1. 1*morea# for Morea Baru (Weightlifting),
  2. 1*justin# for Justin Olam (Rugby League), and
  3. 1*assad# for Assad Vala (Cricket)

Female Athlete of the Year:

  1. 2*abigail# for Abigail Tere-Apisah (Tennis)
  2. 2*thelma# for Thelma Toua (Weightlifting), and
  3. 2*Toea# for Toea Wisil (Athletics)

Team of the Year:

  1. 3*barramundis# for PNG Barramundis (Cricket)
  2. 3*kapuls# for PNG Kapuls (Soccer)
  3. 3*hunters# for SP Hunters (Rugby League)

National Performance Award:

  1. 4*colin# for Colin Geno (Rugby League)
  2. 4*tigers# for Lae Snax Tigers (Rugby League)
  3. 4*timothy# for Timothy Mako (Basketball)

“This shows the appreciation we have for our sports men and women and is a reminder of the important role the SP Sports Awards plays in honouring and recognizing their efforts and achievements every year,” Lepani said.

“2017 is a special year in that we celebrate 25 years of recognizing sports achievements and sporting development in PNG,” he said.

Preparations are on track to host the Awards on the evening of May 27 and to make the presentation night extra special, Australian rugby league legend, Wally Lewis has been invited to be the guest at the event this year.

Affectionately known as ‘King Wally’ in the rugby league fraternity, the former Australian captain and 33 test veteran is no stranger to PNG having visited the country on several occasions on other programmes.

Lewis is a rugby league immortal revered by many in PNG and around the world and the committee, finalists and other guests are excited and looking forward to hearing him share some of his experience on the night.

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