Van Niekerk makes a clean sweep at SA Sport Awards

Wayde van Niekerk was named the winner in three categories – Sports Star of the Year, Sportsman of the Year and People’s Choice – at the 11th annual South African Sport Awards, held in Bloemfontein on 27 November. His 74-year-old coach, Anna Botha, was named Coach of the Year.

Olympic 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya was named Sportswoman of the Year and Mamelodi Sundowns, winners of the 2016 CAF Champions League, is Sports Team of the Year. Charl du Toit is this year’s Sportsman of the Year with a Disability and Ilse Hayes was named Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability. Wheelchair Tennis South Africa General Manager Karen Losch received the honour of Sports Administrator of the Year.

Celebrated Paralympic athlete Dyan Buis was awarded the prestigious Shield of Jove. Not only has he had excellent performances on the World stage but he has also played a huge role in inspiring young athletes from his home town Riversdal.

The Sports Star of the Year and People’s Choice awards earned Van Niekerk a handsome R2-million in prize money, half of which will be donated to a charity of his choice. He also drives off in a stylish new luxury vehicle.

The awards, jointly hosted by Sport and Recreation SA and SASCOC, honoured best performances by athletes between 1 September 2015 and 30 September 2016, in 18 categories. This year’s theme was “Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion. Impossible is nothing. #IzinjazeGame”.

Particularly thrilling due to it being an Olympic year, the glitzy affair was attended by dignitaries and sport celebrities from across the country.

South Africans chose the People’s Choice winner through SMS voting. Van Niekerk faced tough competition in this category from Semenya, swimmer Chad le Clos, cricketer Kagiso Rabada and Springbok rugby wing Seabelo Senatla.

Sport and Recreation Minister, Fikile Mbalula, praised the high level of competition at the event. “No category was cut and dry for the judges; deciding the winners was an arduous task. Congratulations to each and every one of them and I hope they know how proud we are of them. We are a proud sporting nation thanks to their exceptional talent and spirit.”

Winners’ Achievements

Wayde van Niekerk: Sports Star of the Year, Sportsman of the Year and People’s Choice

Sprinter Wayde van Niekerk’ (24) made his international debut at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics and went on to win medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Athletics World Championships. He ran the fourth fastest time in history in the 400 metres at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, in March this year, and is also the first man in history to run a sub-10 100 metre, sub-20 200 metre and sub-44 400 metre. Van Niekerk smashed Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old 400m record (43.18 seconds) at the Rio 2016 Olympics in a time of 43.03 seconds.

Caster Semenya: Sportswoman of the Year

Semenya wrote herself into the South African record books when she won the 400m, 800m and 1500m events at the SA National Championships in April 2016. She has won two Olympic medals in the 800m – silver at the London 2012 Olympics and gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Semenya is shortlisted for the Women’s 2016 World Athlete of the Year Award.

Charl du Toit: Sportsman of the Year with a Disability

The Stellenbosch-based athlete became South Africa’s first double medallist in the Rio 2016 Paralympics, taking gold in both the 100m and 400m events.

Illse Hayes: Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability

Hayes became the fastest para-athlete in the world in 2015. She first broke onto the international athletics stage in 2002 at the IPC World Athletics Championships where she won gold in the 400m. Two years later she participated in the Paralympics in Athens, winning bronze in the 400m T13 event. Hayes won her first Paralympic gold medal in the long jump in 2008 in Beijing and in 2011 she became the world long jump champion. Hayes was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga (silver) in 2013 and won silver medals in the 100m and 200m T13 events at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Mamelodi Sundowns: Sports Team of the Year

From humble beginnings in Pretoria in the 1960s, the team has developed into a formidable winner of national titles, taking among other the Bob Save Super Bowl and Rothmans Cup in the late 1990s. In 2001 the team barely missed winning the much-coveted CAF Champions League title, losing only in the final to Egyptian club Al Ahly. Their steady rise to fame culminated in the team winning the CAF Champions League in 2016 to become Champions of Africa, only the second South African team ever to do so.


More results

Newcomer of the Year: Ntando Mahlangu (athletics)

Volunteer of the Year: Kim Pople (canoeing)

Indigenous Games Team of the Year: North West Khokho Team

National Federation of the Year: Roller Sport South Africa

Recreation Body of the Year: Egoli Squash

Photographer of the Year: Sydney Mahlangu

Journalist of the Year: Thabiso Sithole

School Team of the Year: St Benedict’s Mens Coxless Pair

Developing School Team of the Year: Benny’s Sports Academy

Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achiever Award: Mr. Thomas Kwanaite (sports journalist), Mr. Mzimasi Mnguni (Boxing promoter) and Mr. Francois Pienaar (rugby player)