NEWSDAYSport has once again reaffirmed itself as the best in sports reporting after its senior reporter Henry Mhara won the best sports journalist of the year award in print media at the Sports Journalists Association (Spoja) ceremony held in Harare last Friday.

Mhara, a multiple award winner, beat competition from other reporters from rival media houses to win the award, held to honour the most outstanding sports journalists in the land.
In their third year running, the awards were this year sponsored by Exide and Multimedia.

Excelling journalists from the electronic and online media and photographers were also rewarded.

“The awards honour journalists who have done outstanding work throughout the year in the print, electronic, multimedia as well as video and photography. This dovetails with one of Spoja’s key objectives of honouring media practitioners for their contribution to the development of sport in Zimbabwe. The awards are the country’s most prestigious sports journalists’ competition,” Spoja chairman Ian Zvoma said.

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The prestige of the Spoja awards, Zvoma said, was anchored on the high calibre of the judges, with the country’s sports editors sitting on the adjudication panel.

The chairman of the adjudication panel, Steve Vickers said they were impressed with the submissions they received this year, and had a tough time to pick the winners.

Apart from the awards, Spoja also officially-handed certificates to journalists who successfully completed Level Two Football coaching course this year, which was facilitated by the association, which represents the interests and welfare of sports journalists in the country.

Mhara said he was humbled to receive the award. “It’s a great honour and I’m happy to be recognised for the hard work that I’m putting to grow sport in the country. Credit also goes to my workmates, for my success is theirs too.”

Mhara, who was named the first runner-up last year, has won other awards before, including the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists’ sports reporter of the year in 2016. In the same year, he came second in the prestigious African Fact-Checking Awards, one of the top awards on the continent. The award honours the best investigative fact-checking story carried out by African journalists, reporting that exposes misleading claims made by leading public figures across the continent.

Mhara was also a runner-up in the Regional Annual Sports Awards in 2017.

Spoja awards winners
Sports journalist of the year print media award winner: Henry Mhara (NewsDay)
First runner-up: Langton Nyakwenda (Sunday Mail)
Second runner-up: Godknows Matarutse (Daily News)
Sports journalist of the year electronic media award winner: Yvonne Mangunda (StarFM)
First runner-up: Francis Nyamutsamba (Zbc)
Second runner-up: Lawrence Trusida (Classic263)
Photographer of the year: Wilson Kakurira (ZTN)
Videographer of the year: Wilson Kakurira (ZTN)
Multimedia journalist of the year: Yvonne Mangunda (StarFM)
Emerging journalist of the year female: Blesssing Malinganiza (H Metro)
Emerging journalist of the year male: Clayton Shereni (TellZim)