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Sports News Mon, 12 Oct 1998

Commonwealth sports personalities honoured

Accr (Greater Accra Region) 11 Oct 1998

Eight distinguished sports personalities and four countries including Ghana, were last night honoured at the 19th Commonwealth Sports Awards Night held at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Accra, for their achievements within the Commonwealth.

The awards, the first to be staged in Africa and the second outside the United Kingdom, was instituted 19 years ago by Mr Al Hamilton, a Jamaican, to honour distinguished sports personalities and to encourage the youth within the 68-member states of the former colonies of the British Empire.

The event was telecast live through satellite to the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries.

Four special awards were introduced at this year's ceremony. They are, "Focus on Youth Award" (male and female divisions) , a special one to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for its efforts in sports development, "Special International Award for Football" and one by the Ghana Boxing Authority (GABA) to Lennox Lewis.

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The award winners were, Monica Twum (Ghana)-"Focus on Youth, female division, Raymond Narh (Ghana), male division (gold medallist in the lightweight boxing division at the just-ended Commonwealth Games in Malaysia), Ato Bolden ( Trinidad and Tobago), the fastest man in the 100 metres sprint, and Harry Simons of the United kingdom, professional boxing.

Others were: Ministry of Youth and Sports (Ghana) for sports development, "Best Cricket Country"- South Africa, "Best Netball Country"- Australia, an international sports awards- French national team for winning the World Cup, "Special International Award category for Football"- Geoff Hurst, (U.K), "Lord Piff Humanitarian Award"- Mike McFarlane, (U.K.) and a special award presented to Mr Al Hamilton by GABA, for his dedication.

The World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight Champion, Lennox Lewis, was given a special award by the GABA. He received a traditional stool jointly presented to him by Nana Akuoko Sarpong, Presidential Staffer on Chieftaincy Affairs and Nii Quaye Mensah, president of GABA.

One of the special guests, Cathy Freeman, Australian 400-metre Olympic silver medallist, who was scheduled to arrive on October 10 was absent..

The ceremony was given an African touch with a display of traditional music and dance by the Adjetey Sowah Dance Factory while the Marriot International band entertained the audience to contemporary live music.

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The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr E. T. Mensah and the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Justice Daniel F. Annan, both appealed to the organisers to stage the next award ceremony in an African country.

Present were Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia, Chairman of the Council of State, Nii Cofie Adjinkwa, WBC vice-president, Professor Barima Azumah Nelson, former WBC super featherweight champion and Colonel George Brock, Acting Chairman of the National Sports Council.

Former recipients of the award include Azumah Nelson and Roger Milla of Cameroon. GRi

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