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Fiji Time: 11:34 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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Karate kid wins for dad

Sunday, April 01, 2007

KARATES James Lenoa scooped the top award at the 2006 Sportsman in Suva on Friday.

The 19-year-old former Indian College student said he was surprised to hear his name being called out as the top athlete in Fiji.

I never really expected to win. In fact, I only knew two weeks ago that Fiji karate had nominated me for the award.

Lenoa has a colourful cabinet of trophies at home from the past season, with the gold medal win at the Oceania Karate Championship in New Caledonia the highlight.

He thanked his parents for supporting him through his 10-years in the sport.

Im thankful to the judges and this win is attributed to my late father Lemeki Lenoa Senior who was the pillar of strength for me in the early stages of my involvement in the sport, he said.

He said his key to success so far was taking things one at a time.

Theres always a time to do your school work and play. It is how you manage that time that helps you get past the difficulties.

Caroline Pickering-Puamau, who made a return to the pool last season, took out the Sportswoman award.

Athletics duo Soko Salaqiqi and Leslie Copeland were runners-up.

In other categories, the Ba soccer side was voted team of the year after scooping all five trophies on offer by the Fiji Football Association.

There was double celebration for Karate as Alisha Dickenson won the Young Athlete of the Year.

The National Female Athlete of the Year went to Francis Nagatalevu of swimming.

Chess rep Calvin Prasad was voted National Make Athlete of the Year.

Laucala Bay School student Anaseini Seniloli and Patricia Naisara of International were voted Female School Athlete of the Year. Suva Grammar s John Vugakoto was named Male School Athlete of the Year. Marist picked up the School Team of the Year.