Van Niekerk shines at SA Sports Awards

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

Virginia Mabaso

–         SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Wayde van Niekerk

–         SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR WITH A DISABILITY

Lucas Sithole

–         SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio

–         SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR WITH A DISABILITY

Illsle Hayes

–         TEAM OF THE YEAR

Springbok Sevens

–          NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Kagiso Rabada

–         COACH OF THE YEAR

Graham Hill

–         VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Nkosinathi Ngubane

–         INDEGENOUS GAMES OF THE YEAR

KZN Debeke Team

–         NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE YEAR

Basketball

–         RECREATIONAL BODY OF THE YEAR

Indigo Skate Camp

–         PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

Veli Nhlapo

–         SPORT JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

Bareng-Batho Kortjass

–         SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR

St Johns College-Junior Men’s pair

–          DEVELOPING SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR

Montshiwa Primary School

The country's Golden Boy, Wayne van Niekerk

The country’s Golden Boy, Wayne van Niekerk

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