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General News of Saturday, 1 January 2000

Source: Graphic

Myles-Mills is Sportsman of the Year

? Kuffour is top footballer

By Rosalind Amoh

GHANA and Africa's 100 metres champion, Leo Myles-Mills has been voted the Sportsman of the Year ahead of Samuel Osei Kuffour of Bayern Munich and the Black Stars by the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG).

For the first time in about six years, the race for the topmost award of SWAG was a tight contest between Osei Kuffour, the deputy skipper of the Black Stars and Myles-Mills, who won the 100m final at this year's All Africa Games ahead of Frank Fredericks of Namibia and other top African sprinters.

Myles Mills was eventually voted for the award in recognition of his impressive record of being ranked among the first 10 sprinters in the world as well as getting to the semi-finals of the 100m at the Seville World Championship. The top sprinter also won the National Collegiates Athletics Association (NCAA) meet organised for American universities where he run under 10 seconds, clocking 9.98 seconds to set a new record for that event in more than 20 years as well as a new national record.

He also won two grand prix events in France and Germany, beating Donovan Bailey and Dennis Mitchell in the Germany event.

In addition to winning the highest award, Myles Mills has also been voted the Athlete of the Year, once again beating Andrew Owusu, the African Triple Jump champion who won gold at the All Africa Games.

The Footballer of the Year was retained by Samuel Osei Kuffour who won the award for the first time in 1998. Kuffour is being honoured for being an integral part of the Bayern Munich team that won the 1999 Bundesliga as well as playing in the final of the European Champions League which the club lost to Manchester United. Kuffour's performance also won him the prestigious Best Defender Award in Germany which ultimately won him the second place behind Arsenal and Nigeria's Nwakwo Kanu in the Africa's Best Player Award.

In all, 21 sportsmen and sportswomen will be honoured at the Silver Jubilee Awards Night at a date to be fixed next year. The highlight of the 25th event will be the honouring of centenary sports personalities. There were no nominees for the Chairman of the Year and Dedication and Valour awards.

Kofi Jantuah, who successfully defended his Commonwealth title in London as well as winning four fights in the USA, was for the second year running voted the Professional Boxer of the Year ahead of Alex Ali Baba, the WBC International champion while Osumanu Adama, who won silver at the All Africa Games was named the Amateur Boxer of the Year.

ABC Premier League champions, Accra Hearts of Oak won the top-scoring club with their progidy, Ishmael Addo winning the goalking award with 16 goals.

FIFA referee Alex Quartey was voted for the third consecutive time, the Best Referee of the Year, for his outstanding performance on both the local and international scene.

Other award winners for the year include Shelly Ogoe-Panford who retained the Best Tennis Player Award for her excellent performance this year, which she crowned with the singles and doubles gold at the Nations Cup tournament in Benin, Ivy Aryeetey named as the Promising Star for winning four gold medals in this year's West African ITF Junior circuit and Gifty Addy , the junior sprint queen who also won four medals at this year's junior championship in Cote d'Ivoire was made Prospect of the Year.

Goalkeeper Richard Ankrah, who was voted the third best player at the All Africa Games, was named the Best Handball Player while the national handball team, the Black Hands, who won bronze at the All Africa Games on their first appearance were made Team of the Year. The Best Hockey Player Award went to Alfred Cudjoe who plays for Bank of Ghana's Exchequers while Godson Asem is to be honoured as the Best Tae-kwon-doist for winning silver at the Johannesburg African Games. Black Queens' goalkeeper, Memunatu Abiba Sulemana will also receive a special award for her sterling performance during the Women's World Cup to which the Queens qualified for the first time.

Assistant Referee Justice Yeboah will also be honoured for his performance on both the local and international scene.