Boas, Toua win PNG Sports awards

PORT MORESBY – PNG Hunters captain Ase Boas was named the best male athlete of 2017 at the annual SP Sports Awards on Saturday, Port Moresby.

Boas beat weightlifter Morea Baru and cricketer Mahuru Dai for the top award.

Weightlifter Dika Toua won the award for the best female athlete of the year.

Last year, Boas made rugby league history as the first PNG player to win the Courier Mail medal for being the best and fairest player in the Intrust Super Cup competition.

Boas also won the People’s Choice award understandably for being one of the most popular sports personality.

Boas, 29, provided the grubber for Willie Minoga to score the match-levelling try in last year’s Q-Cup grand final and then kicked his side to a 12-10 win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons at Suncorp Stadium.

That performance also earned the Hunters the nod for the Team of the Year award.

“Last year was an amazing year for PNG rugby league, with the performance from the Hunters winning Intrust Super Cup and the Kumuls winning their home games at the World Cup,” PNGRFL chief executive Reatau Rau said.

“Ase Boas has been a fantastic ambassador for the sport. He is disciplined, polished and a role model coming through the ranks from schoolboy rugby league to the Rabaul Gurias, SP Hunters and Kumuls,” Rau said as he picked up the award on behalf of the Boas, who was unable to attend as he had fallen sick with dengue fever the day before.

The Hunters, who were preparing for their round 12 home fixture against the Townsville Blackhawks and were not able to attend the awards.

PNGRFL chairman Graham Osborne received the award for team of the year, on behalf of coach Michael Marum.

The best female athlete of the year award went to Toa who was picked ahead of fellow finalists tennis players Abigail Tere-Apisah and triathlete Racheal Sapery-James.

Toa won gold at the Oceania and Australian championships last year and is ranked number one in the region and No.4 in the Commonwealth.

“I am very grateful and thankful to the good Lord for his continuous blessings of strength he has given me to represent PNG. Thank you also to the PNG weightlifting committee, the PNG Olympic committee and corporate sponsors for all your support,” Toa said.

The guest speaker for the night was former champion aerial skier Jacqui Cooper, who gave a motivational speech to encourage athletes and young people about the importance of having self-belief.

“I had an absolute passion for sport and winning a medal is something at the very end because you only get to do that once,” Cooper said.

It’s all about having a champion attitude and come back harder from adversity and more importantly believe in yourself.”

Cooper overcome 27 surgeries to become the first Australian compete at at five Winter Olympic Games before ending her career at the age of 37.

Cooper represented her country for more than 20 years, and competed in 39 world cup events, nine world championships.

The 26th SP Sports Awards was staged at the Crown Plaza to acknowledge and recognise the achievements of the country’s athletes, administrators and media.

Winners: Male Athlete of the Year – Ase Boas (rugby league); Female Athlete of the Year – Dika Toua (weightlifting); Team of the Year – PNG Hunters; Junior Male Athlete – Hewago Oea (AFL); Junior Female Athlete – Violet Apisah (tennis); Sports Official – Michael Marum (rugby league); Coomunity Sports – Surfing Association of PNG; Best Sports Person with a Disability – Vero Nime (table tennis); National Performance – Port Moresby Women’s Softball Association; Sports Media – Sports Breakfast Show (FM 100); Sports Photo – Troy Taule (Loop); People’s Choice: Ase Boas (rugby league).