The much-celebrated 2018 Nigerian Sports Award held at the weekend in Lagos, with The Guardian Senior Correspondent, Gowon Akpodonor, emerging the Best Sports Journalist of the Year (Print).He beat three others, Shina Okeleji of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Punch’s Tana Aiyejina and Chibike Chukwu to the crown.
One of the nation’s most travelled reporters, Akpodonor clinched the diadem with his entry, “Oruma opens up on loss of N2 billion to fraudsters,” a report he filed in from St. Petersburg, Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The captain of the winning Japan 1993 FIFA U-17 World Championship had relived how he was defrauded of his life savings by some impostors who claimed to be in possession of disposable oil blocks while attempting to establish a business empire after his retirement from active football. Members of the award panel, comprising seasoned sports administrators and veteran journalists like Mitchell Obi, Fabio Lanipekun, Falilat Ogunkoya, Kweku Tandor, Kayode Odowu and Olumide Oyedeji, were pleased by the nice treatment of the report.
The interview was the first by the ex-Super Eagles star on the matter since it happened about four years ago.The occasion, seventh in the series, was graced by personalities from all sectors of sports.
In the Photo Journalist of the Year category, Akeem Salau beat Segun Aderinto and Ganiu Yusuf to the award. There was no presentation in the Radio Journalist of the Year category as only one person submitted entry. There was none in the television category either.
Super Eagles stand-in captain, Ahmed Musa, got the Footballer of the Year plaque beating Kenneth Oneruo and captain of the Flamingos, Rasheedat Ajibade.
Aruna Quadri emerged Sportsman of the Year ahead of Ike Diogu and Ahmed Musa. Seun Adigun, captain of the Bobsled team to the winter Olympics, was recognised as Team Sports Person of the Year.
Sprint Hurdler, Oluwatobiloba Amusan, picked the Track & Field Star of the Year award while Rivers helmsman, Nyesom Wike, beat his Delta and Lagos counterparts, Ifeanyi Okowa and Akinwunmi Ambode, to the Sports Governor of the Year award.
President of Nigeria Badminton Federation, Francis Orbih, bettered Amaju Pinnick of Nigeria Football Federation, Ahmed Musa Kida of Nigeria Basketball Federation and Nigeria Squash Federation’s Boye Oyerinde to be named Sports Administrator of the Year.
Olatunji Yemisi clinched the Racket Sports Person of the Year award, while Evelyn Akhator got that of Basketball Player of the Year. Esther Oyema was announced Para Sports Person of the Year, just as D’Tigress beat Super Eagles and the Bobsled team to emerge Team of the Year.
Young sprinter, Joy Udoh-Gabriel was Discovery of the Year, and Odunayo Adekuroye, Wrestler of the Year. Are Feyisetan of the para-power lifter defeated Gernot Rohr of the Super Eagles and Otis Hugley to clinch the Coach of the Year award.Evelyn Akhator bagged the Sportswoman of the Year plaque in addition to the Basketball Player of the Year prize.