By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
SOUTH Africa’s track and field star, Wayde van Niekerk was the biggest winner on Sunday night during the SA Sports Awards.
In a good evening where in glitz and glam was the order of the day as the country’s who is who graced the event which was held in Bloemfontein’ Sand du Plessis Theatre, 23 year-old Van Niekerk walked away with three awards.
For his effort, the Mangaung born-star who holds the record for the fastest 400m time in Africa after finishing under the 44 seconds held , walked away with two German cars plus a cool R1 million after he was named the Sports Star of the Year, the People’s Choice Award and the Sportsman of the Year Award.
Sports minister, Fikile Mbalula reminded the country that sports has been always regarded as a tool to build the nation in this country.
“Remember that in this country, since 1994, we have always considered sport as a very important tool in our nation building and our sports stars have a responsibility not only to perform well, but to carry themselves well. Off-field behaviour, coupled with excellence on the field is a very important consideration for being a sport star, “pointed out Mbalula
Mbalula added: “I think by now all our athletes know that they carry a very important responsibility and for that, as a country, we ought to recognise and honour them.”
Previously, the sport star of the year award was left entirely to public vote and sentiment, but has since been left to journalists.
“The aspect of allowing journalists and editors to decide who our Sport Star of the year is, is a calculated one. We believe that they are in a good position to judge fairly as they monitor the athlete regularly.”
“However, because it is only fair to allow the public to vote for their favourite star, we have created the People’s Choice Award, where the publice still gets to vote for their favourite star.
The rest of the athletes who were awarded are:
– SPORT ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR
– SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Wayde van Niekerk
– SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR WITH A DISABILITY
– SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
– SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR WITH A DISABILITY
– TEAM OF THE YEAR
– NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
– COACH OF THE YEAR
– VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
– INDEGENOUS GAMES OF THE YEAR
KZN Debeke Team
– NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE YEAR
– RECREATIONAL BODY OF THE YEAR
Indigo Skate Camp
– PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
– SPORT JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
– SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR
St Johns College-Junior Men’s pair
– DEVELOPING SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR
Montshiwa Primary School