24 November 2015
Sprinter Wayde van Niekerk took home three awards, including South African Sport Star of the Year, from an event in Bloemfontein at which the Department of Sports and Recreation honoured its local heroes.
The 10th annual South African Sport Awards was held on Sunday night, 22 November. The 23-year-old Van Niekerk beat world champion downhill mountain biker Greg Minnaar and swimmer Chad le Clos to claim the prestigious Sportsman of the Year prize.
Van Niekerk also won the People’s Choice award.
He made headlines earlier this year when he claimed gold at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing to become the first African 400m runner in almost a century to win a major global title. Van Niekerk posted the sixth fastest time in history, clocking 43.48 to claim the title.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation reported Van Niekerk said 2015 was about representing his country. “It was really just an honour to be able to stand on the podium and say I won a gold medal for South Africa, and here I get three awards.”
Those sportsmen and women who had been nominated in the categories that he had won had inspired and motivated him to be the athlete he was today. “I am just honoured and blessed that I could carry the legacy of the South African sport stars.”
Watch Van Niekerk share what keeps him motivated, and listen to how his family feels about his achievements:
South Africans shared their delight on Twitter:
— Kass Naidoo (@KassNaidoo) November 22, 2015
— Coach Dukes (@produkes) November 23, 2015
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula also tweeted his thoughts on the winners:
Our athletes sacrifice, they represent our country on world stages with no expectation of any monetary reward – they deserve honors
— RSA Min of Sport (@MbalulaFikile) November 22, 2015
— Dep. Sport & Rec (@SPORTandREC_RSA) Novem ber 23, 2015
Van Niekerk was not alone in bringing home the trophies. The other winners in the different categories were:
- Sports Star of the Year: Wayde van Niekerk (athletics)
- Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability: Ilse Hayes (Western Province Athletics)
- Sportsman of the Year with a Disability: Lucas Sithole (Tennis SA)
- Sportswoman of the Year: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (cycling)
- Sportsman of the Year: Wayde van Niekerk (athletics)
- Newcomer of the Year: Kagiso Rabada (cricket)
- Team of the Year: Springbok Sevens (rugby)
- Coach of the Year: Graham Hill (swimming)
- Administrator of the Year: Virginia Mabaso (Rowing SA)
- Recreation Body of the Year: Indigo Skate Camp
- Indigenous Games Team of the Year: KwaZulu-Natal Dibeke Team
- School Team of the Year: St Johns College
- National Federation of the Year: Basketball South Africa
- Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achievement Award: Rev Dr Makhenkesi Stifle
- Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr Chomane Chorine
Watch some of the highlights of the awards ceremony:
Source: News24Wire and SouthAfrica.info reporter