Rilio Rio Rii, Vanuatu Rowing Association and Anolyn Lulu, Vanuatu Table Tennis federation were among the winners of the Inaugural Vanuatu Sports Awards on Saturday night claiming honours above the likes of Vanuatu Crickets Patrick Matautaava and Vanuatu Paralympic Committee`s Friana Kwevira in a tightly contested affair.
The award night, held at Le Lagon Farea in Port VIla last night, saw winners in 12 categories.
Rilio Rio Rii was awarded the Sportsman of the Year award for an outstanding last two years in his individual sport contributing to the development of rowing in Vanuatu and claiming the countries first ever commonwealth Gold Medal. Whilst Anolyn Lulu claimed honors with Friana Kwevira and Miller Pata also coming exceptionally close to a very hotly contested award.
Vanuatu Cricket and Vanuatu Volleyball scooped the Sport Teams of the Year award for their performances on the international stage with the Vanuatu Cricket Mens Team gaining promotion to division 3 and the Vanuatu Women’s Beach Volleyball team gaining unprecedented success at the commonwealth games, claiming a bronze medal against the odds.
“This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of all of the people that work for and represent Vanuatu Volleyball," said Williams Worwokon, Vanuatu Beach Volleyball board member.
"We continue to grow and develop our offering to ensure that Volleyball can be enjoyed by everyone from a grassroots to an elite level because we know this sport can have such a positive influence on people’s lives.
“Participation has grown significantly over the last 12 months and a huge part of that is due to the success at the Commonwealth Games in April 2018. We are now looking ahead to the qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and are preparing for participation numbers to soar once again."
Other winners on the night included Rosalie Molbaleh from the Vanuatu Tennis Federation and Risu Rii from the Vanuatu Rowing Association, who were given the Youth Sportsman and Woman of the year with Clement Mainguy also close in the running.
Commenting on the win, Rii thanked his family and the Vanuatu rowing association alongside his coaches for helping him get the award and for future successs.
Meanwhile, Seru Korikalo and “The Golden Mama” Marie Estelle, were the first inductees to first ever Vanuatu Hall of Fame for their contributions to their sports and sports in Vanuatu with both dedicating their awards to the past and future of Vanuatu Sports.
The Vanuatu Basketball federation also took home two awards for technical official of the year with Junior Mahit and Coach of the Year for Sacha Duthu whilst Vanuatu Volleyball continued its sweep of awards claiming National Federation of the year and Debbie Masauvakalo with Administrator of the year after also claiming the Oceania Women in sports award earlier in 2019.
The Vanuatu Sports Awards would also like to thank our wonderful sponsors in VASANOC, Bred Bank, VBTC, Carbine Club, TVL, IPDS, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, Azure Pure Water, Warwick Le Lagon and offcourse Vanuatu Beverage for all their wonderful support.
Sports Man of the Year: Rilio Rio Rii (Vanuatu Rowing Association)
Sports Woman of the Year: Anolyn Lulu (Vanuatu Table Tennis)
Mens Team of the Year: Vanuatu Cricket Mens Team (Vanuatu Cricket Association)
Womens Team of the Year: Vanuatu Beach Volleyball (Vanuatu Volleyball Federation)
Youth Sportsman of the Year: Risu Rii (Vanuatu Rowing Association)
Youth Sportswoman of the Year: Rosalie Molbaleh (Vanuatu Tennis Federation)
Administrator of the Year: Debbie Masauvakalo (Vanuatu Volleyball Federation)
Coach of the Year: Sacha Duthu (Vanuatu Basketball Federation)
Technical Official of the Year: Junior Mahit (Vanuatu Basketball Federation)
National Federation of the Year: Vanuatu Volleyball Federation
Hall of Fame: Seru Korikalo
Hall of Fame: Marie Estelle