World champion sprinter, cyclist crowned at SA Sports Awards
TOP sprinter Wayde van Niekerk reigned supreme at the South African Sports Awards after he was named as the sportsman of the year in Bloemfontein last night. Van Niekerk walked away with a Mercedes-Benz C-class as well as a R500 000 cheque after he saw off stiff competition from cyclist Greg Minnaar and swimming sensation Chad le Clos. The sprinter will be given another R500 000 to donate to a charity of his choice.
Cyclist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio was the deserving winner of the sportswoman of the year after beating cricketer Shabnim Ismail and canoeist Bridgitte Hartley.
Van Niekerk had a sensational year and not only is he the reigning world champion, but he is also the only South African athlete ranked No 1 in the world.
He beat the reigning Olympic and world champions, Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt respectively, at the World Championships in Beijing in August when he became the fourth fastest 400m athlete of all time.
He crossed the line in 43.48 seconds and claimed South Africa’s first sprint gold at a major championship in more than a century.
He has been breaking records all year and in June broke an African record that had stood since before he was born, although it was in the rarely staged 300m.
In the other categories, Lucas Sithole won sportsman of the year with a disability and Illsle Hayes won sportswoman with a disability.
The Springbok Sevens were named team of the year, Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, 20, newcomer of the year, Graham Hill coach of the year and basketball was declared the national federation of the year.
Rowing SA’s Virginia Mabaso was named sports administrator of the year, KwaZulu-Natal’s Dibeke Team won indigenous games team of the year, Indigo Skate Camp recreation body of the year, St John’s College Junior Men’s pair school team of the year and Montshiwa Primary School developing school team of the year.
Times Media scored a double after Sowetan’s Veli Nhlapo was named photographer of the year and Sunday Times sports editor BarengBatho Kortjaas won the sports journalist of the year award.
With the exception of the Sportsman and the People’s Choice award, all the other winners were presented with cheques for R130 000.