Two of South Africa’s most decorated swimmers, Tatjana Schoenmaker and Chad Le Clos, have both been nominated for awards at this year’s South Africa Sports Awards. Minister of Sport and Recreation, Nathi Mthethwa, announced the nominees on October 11th ahead of what will be the 14th annual awards ceremony.
Schoenmaker is up for both the Sportswoman and Sports Star of the Year awards, alongside netball player Karla Pretorius, footballer Thembi Kgatlana and 800m runner Caster Semenaya. Le Clos has been nominated in the Sportsman of the Year category, which also includes paddler Andrew Birkett and boxer Moruti Mthalane.
Following such a successful year, Schoenmaker will be trying to continue that momentum in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She won a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke at this year’s World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, becoming the first South African woman ever to do so. She also won two gold medals at the 2019 World University Games in the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Speaking to Sport24 earlier this year, she said her aim is “to do great in both [100m and 200m breaststroke] events” at the upcoming Olympics.
Le Clos is also training for next year’s Olympics with coach James Gibson at the Gloria Sports Facility in Turkey. He first shot to the forefront of swimming at the London 2012 Olympics after a sensational win against Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly. Throughout his career, Le Clos has collected more than seventeen Commonwealth Games medals, twenty World Championships medals, and a further three Olympic Games medals.
The Department of Sport and Recreation SA has said that “This year’s edition of the SA Sport Awards is geared towards recognising the ways in which sport has boosted social cohesion and nation building in the democratic South Africa focusing also on the human triumphant spirit”. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Durban on November 10th.