The annual South African Sports Award ceremony took place over the weekend, where the top women and men in the nation’s sports were recognized for their efforts over the past year.
Across a total of 17 different categories, individuals, federations, media and overall community sports builders were recognized for their work during the time span of September 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, with the nominees having been announced earlier this month. All convened at the Sand du Plessis in Mangaung, Free State, South Africa to celebrate the honors, with each category nominee receiving R15 000 cash ($1,000) and the winner in each category receives R130 000 ($9,000).
Last year’s ‘Sportsman of the Year’ winner, swimmer Chad Le Clos was nominated in the same category again this year, but it was Le Clos’ coach who walked away with the trophy this time around. While sprint track athlete Wayde Van Niekerk earned this year’s Sportsman of the Year recognition, Graham Hill, Le Clos’ longtime coach, earned the “Coach of the Year” award.
Hill received the award for his efforts in leading the high performance senior and junior swimming teams, including South Africa’s coming away with 1 gold and 3 silver in the form of Le Clos’ and Cameron Van der Burgh’s performances at the 2015 FINA World Championships. In addition to producing world-class results internationally, a winner of the Coach of the Year Award is also deemed worthy of receiving the recognition by ‘demonstrating that the team coached by him are disciplined and practice fair play and display reasonable code of conduct, while also conforming and complying with all applicable ethical codes.’
This year’s awards theme was “IzinjaZeGame … The Best for 2015”. Said the South African Sports Minister, “The majority of South Africans can identify with this colloquial phrase which, loosely translated, means that you are the top dog, the best at what you do. Our nominees are the best.”