Athlete proves streets ahead of competition at awards
Uitenhage athlete Lusapho April stole the show at this year’s Eastern Cape Sport and Recreation Achievers Awards when he scooped the biggest honour of the night, the Sports Star of the Year at the Boardwalk ICC on Saturday.
April, who is the first man to win the Hannover Marathon three times, was also presented with the Sportsman of the Year award.
Upon receiving the awards and prize money of R50 000, the 34-year-old dedicated the Sports Star Award to his daughter, Avuzwa, and apologised for being an absent father due to work.
The Sportswoman of the Year award went to boxer Sharodine Fortuin.
Having also won both awards in 2014, April said receiving them for the second time was very special.
“I feel over the moon to have won these awards once more,” he said.
“I gave the awards a miss in 2015 and 2016 because I did not feel that my results were good enough for me to contest.
“This time, I went to the Olympics and won the Hannover Marathon three times [for the first time] in the history of the event. I thought that would put me in good standing to contest for these awards.
“I am grateful that I have won them,” he said.
Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula spoke highly of April – who is a two-times Two Oceans halfmarathon winner – describing him as a gem.
But Mbalula said that April did not get the recognition he deserved.
“I am not surprised that Lusapho April won the Sports Star of the Year,” Mbalula said.
“April is the diamond of the Eastern Cape and he has done well for this country in terms of long-distance running.
“He has a great future, he is a great athlete and is humble.
“I think he is one individual, among many of our athletes, who is a great achiever but highly underrated.”
Mbalula said he was very happy with how the awards went and that they should have been broadcast on television.
Eastern Cape Arts and Culture MEC Pemmy Majodina applauded the organisation of the awards.
“The event was superb and the athletes deserved such an occasion,” Majodina said.
She said April deserved the award because he had not only done well for the province but for the country as a whole.
The winners were: Journalist of the Year: Ross Roche (Daily Dispatch) Presenter of the Year: Vuyisa Kulase (Ultra Community Radio) School of the Year: Dale College (Rugby) Sport Team of the Year for Persons with Disability: EC Table Tennis team Sport Team of Year: Border Women Rugby Federation of the Year: Eastern Cape Amateur Boxing Organisation Sportswoman of the Year Golden Age: Nomkoso Tyhulu (Athletics) Sportsman of the Year Golden Age: Hendrik Botha (Athletics) Indigenous Games Star of the Year: Zoleka Gwedlisa (Intonga) Technical Official of the Year: Shaun George (Cricket) Coach of the Year: Kholisile Cengani (Boxing) Administrator of the Year: Luxolo Qobishiyane (Cricket) Sportswoman of the Year for Persons with Disability: Rentia Oostuizen (Athletics) Sportsman of the Year for Persons with Disability: Ndyebo Lamani (Judo – visually impaired) Sportswoman of the Year: Sharodine Fortuin (Boxing) Sportsman of the Year: Lusapho April Sports Star of the Year: Lusapho April