The 2000 Sydney Olympic Gold medallist and 1996 bronze medallist at the Atlanta Games had been invited as part of the SRC’s efforts to bring high profile athletes for the event. In the past the Commission has managed to lure Indian world class batsman Sachin Tendulkar as well as Olympic 200 metre silver medal specialist Frankie Fredericks to grace the occasion.
Apart from her Olympic Games achievements, Mutola has also won three world championships, a silver and a bronze medal at the same competition and is a proud holder of seven world indoor championships on top of a silver and a bronze medal.
She also holds two Commonwealth titles and a bronze medal and it is against this background that SRC director general Charles Nhemachena revealed they wanted a sports icon of such stature to present prizes to Zimbabwe’s most outstanding sportsperson for the year 2009.
However, Nhemachena revealed that the Mozambican has turned down the invitation claiming she has other commitments on the day the ceremony is to take place.
Instead the SRC have now opted for retired Zimbabwe tennis ace Wayne Black to take over the assignment that Mutola was supposed to carry out.
Nhamachena said Wayne, a two time joint winner of the Sportsperson of the Year Award alongside brother Byron has agreed to take over Mutola’s place and will present the prize money to the finalists and the winners.
Coincidentally, Wayne’s sister, Cara is among the finalists for both the Sportswoman of the year and the Sportsperson of the Year Awards.
Wayne Black is a former doubles winner along with partner Kevin Ullyett of the Wimbledon and French Open and will have the opportunity to meet Kevin who is also a finalist for the Sportsman of the Year Award.
Nhemachena also made it known that next year, they will try to bring in Zimbabwe’s England based footballer Banjani Mwaruwariawards presentation ceremony. (Radio VOP)