Sports royalty honoured
South Africa’s sporting royalty came out to celebrate excellence in the various sporting codes at the SA Sport Awards 2014 last night.
Hosted by the Department of Sport and Recreation, the awards are the premium event for the sporting world, with Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula jovially saying the awards were to honour “a bunch of winners”.
“To all our athletes, I want to say to you that this is your occasion. Never again will our athletes go around not [being] recognised for all they put in for this country.
“Today we will honour our pride and our heritage of the South African sporting [fraternity] for what they have achieved throughout the year and we will equally remember those who passed on,” said the Minister at the awards held at the Sandton Convention Centre.
The Minister said the fallen sport stars may be gone but they will not be forgotten for having made the country proud. In October, South Africans paid their last respects to three sporting heroes namely Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Senzo Meyiwa and Phindile Mwelase.
Minister Mbalula also used the occasion to thank women for their role in sport.
“May this night usher in a new era in sport for women. Women in sport have never been recognised. All women [participate] in amateur sport, there’s no premier league of women, except for the Netball Premier League,” he said to a round of applause.
There were over 12 categories of awards on Sunday night ranging from Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year, Coach of the Year and Sportsman of the Year with a Disability and Federation of the Year, among other.
Coach of the Year went to Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba, who was appointed to the top post in July. His award came as South Africa thrashed Ivory Coast 2-0 at Mbombela Stadium in Neslpruit, Mpumalanga, on Sunday afternoon.
Mashaba thanked the Minister while also thanking the church for their prayers.
“To South Africans, we didn’t only see your support, we felt it,” he said while also thanking his family.
The award of Sportsman of the Year went to swimmer Chad le Clos, who was not at the awards, while Sportswoman of the Year went Ashleigh Moolman Pasio.
The Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability went to Justine Asher, while Sportsman of the Year with a Disability went to Ernst Francois Van Dyk.
Minister Mbalula also honoured athletes such as Portia Modise (SA Sports Star of the Year) and AB De Villiers with the excellence awards.
Former Springbok Joost van der Westhuizen, who suffers from motor neuron disease, was also honoured at the glittering awards. - SAnews.gov.za
Photo Caption: Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula. Photo courtesy of www.northcliffmelvilletimes.co.za
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