By Chamu Wilson –
The 13th annual South Africa Sports Awards staged at the Sand du Plessis in Bloemfontein was largely a Caster Semenya affair as the 800m world champion cleaned up three awards on the night.
To top it all, her coach, Samuel Sepeng, was voted the Coach of the Year.
Semenya’s awards included the overall Sports Star of the Year; the Sportswoman of the Year as well as the People’s Choice Award. Her coach, Sepeng, received the awards on her behalf.
According to Sepeng, the awards were a worthy recognition of the work that his athlete has been consistently putting in.
“I am excited for Caster but I can’t say I’m surprised because these awards are a culmination of all the hard work that we have been putting. Such recognition can only inspire one to continue doing what they love and keep breaking barriers and setting new records,” said Sepeng.
Previously, Semenya won the Sports Woman of the Year at Sandton in 2012 and was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in 2014 in recognition of her contribution towards the development of sports in the country.
She first broke onto the international circuit in July 2008 when she won gold in the 800m at both the World Junior Championships as well as the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games. She has been nominated in the IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year for 2018 for her impressive performances that have seen her being unbeaten in nine 800m finals, among them, the Commonwealth Games, the IAAF Diamond League, IAAF Continental Cup as well as the African Championships. She is also the current 1, 500m Commonwealth Games champion as well as the 400m African champion.
Star swimmer, Chad le Clos, walked away with the Sportsman of the Year award while the Sportsman with a Disability award went to Mduduzi Ntutu with Anrune Liebenburg taking the Sports Woman with a Disability.
For their efforts that have seen them winning the COSAFA Women’s Cup back-to-back as well as qualifying AFCON, the South Africa women’s soccer team, Banyana Banyana, was voted the Team of the Year. Another swimming sensation, Tatjana Schoenmaker, was the Newcomer of the Year with Virginia Mabaso being voted the Administrator of the Year.
List of Winners:
Sports star of the year: Caster Semenya
Sportsman of the year: Chad le Clos
Sportswoman of the Year: Caster Semenya
Sportsman of the year with disability: Mdodozi Ntutu
Sportswoman of the year with disability: Anrune Liebenberg
Team of the year: Banyana Banyana
Newcomer of the year: Tatjana Schoenmaker
Coach of the year: Samuel Sepeng
Volunteer of the year: Linda Hlophe
Indigenous games team of the year: Morabaraba Team
The Recreation body of the year: Mavu Sport Development
National Federation of the year: Softball
School team of the year: St Benedict’s College
Sports Journalist of the Year: Motshidisi Mohono
Developing school of the year: Machakela-Mamodibo Secondary School
Sport Administrator of the Year: Virginia Mabaso
People’s Choice Award: Caster Semenya