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Friday, Jan. 19, 2007

TOP SPORTS FIGURES IN 2006

Arakawa, Hillman win FSAJ Awards


Staff writer

Figure skater Shizuka Arakawa, the women's gold medalist at the 2006 Turin Olympics, and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters manager Trey Hillman have been selected as the top Japanese and foreign sports figures for 2006 in voting by the Foreign Sportswriters Association of Japan.

Arakawa, the 2004 world champion, took first place in balloting by members of the FSAJ in the Japanese category, outpolling World Baseball Classic MVP Daisuke Matsuzaka, who finished second, and soccer player Marcus Tulio Tanaka, who came in third, for the honor.

Hillman, who became just the second foreign-born manager ever to win the Japan Series, led the Fighters to the franchise's first championship in 44 years last season and also piloted the club to victory in the Asia Series.

He claimed the award in the foreign category over former Urawa Reds manager Guido Buchwald, who placed second, and sumo star Asashoryu, who was third.

Figure skater Mao Asada and manager Bobby Valentine won the awards in 2005.

The FSAJ honors one top foreign and Japanese sports figures, based on their performances in Japan or representing Japan, on an annual basis.

This is the third year the awards have been handed out by the group, which is composed of foreign members of the sports media in Japan and Japanese sports media working at English-language media outlets.



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