IM Robert Gwaze is one of seventeen sports Zimbabwean personalities nominated for 2001-2002 "Sports Person of the Year." The former African Junior champion has set a blazing trail to the top of Zimbabwe's chess elite. He has represented the country in the 2000 Olympiad on board #1 and scored a brilliant 6½-2½ (72.2%). IM Gwaze earned his IM title three years ago at age 17 and is known for swashbuckling, attacking style (see Chess Crackers, March/April, No. 2).
Daniel Kinnear, chief executive officer of Indicom, a company engaged by the Sports Commission to market the awards, said a panel of judges have already met to select the final winners who will be announced in two weeks time. Admire Taderera from ZBC, Prince Edward school head Clive Barnes, Jane Makawa from Belvedere Technical Teachers' College and Mitchell Henderson make up the panel of judges. "This year's event will be held during the Cultural Week Celebration which makes it more exciting," said Kinnear.
Some of the following nominees feature karate master Marcia Maphosa, long distance runner Honest Mutsakani, bodybuilding champion Givemore Marume, blinder bowler Connie Sibanda, cricket batsman Andy Flower, rugby team captain Victor Olonga, and multi-talented Costa Dinha who made his mark in both rugby and basketball. Perhaps the most familiar of these nominees in the Western world would be the tennis duo of Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyet.
The winners of the prestigious award will be announced on May 23rd at a glittering ceremony at 7 Arts Theatre with a possible broadcast local television and live feeds in 38 other countries in Africa. IM Gwaze is the third chess player nominated for a nation's top award. Both IM Amon Simutowe of Zambia and IM Kevin Denny of Barbados have won their nation's top awards.
Posted by The Chess Drum: 17 May 2002