Swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker was named the 2019 South Africa Sports Awards Sports Awards Sports Star of the Year on Sunday in Durban. The 22-year old was also named the Sportswoman of the Year.
Schoenmaker wasn’t at the ceremony as she was taking final exams at the University of Pretoria, but Tweeted after the announcement:
Oh my… Did that just happen?!? 😭Thank you, thank you! 🙏 … So incredibly honoured to be named #SportsWomanOfTheYear and #SportsStarOfTheYear @SASportAwards. Thank you South Africa and the judges for believing in me! 🙏 🇿🇦
— Tatjana Schoenmaker (@TRSchoenmaker) November 10, 2019
The honor comes at the major national sports awards ceremony in South Africa.
Fellow swimmer Chad Le Clos was nominated for the Sportsman of the Year Award, but that honor went to boxer Moruti Mthalane. Another swimmer, Michael Houlie, was named Newcomer of the Year. He was the 2018 Youth Olympic Games gold medalist in the 50 breaststroke.
Earlier this year, at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Schoenmaker took a silver medal in the women’s 200 meter breaststroke. This made her the first-ever South African female swimmer to win a FINA World Aquatics Championship medal. She also swept the 100 and 200 breaststroke events at the World University Games.
She rose to fame in 2018 when she won the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Schoenmaker is, in part, a product of the country’s effort to stimulate its women’s swimming program. In spite of loads of success for the top male swimmers like le Clos and the recently-retired Cameron van der Burgh, the women struggled. In 2017, Schoenmaker became the first woman on a South African roster for a World or Olympic championship meet since 2013.
- Sports Star of the Year – Tatjana Schoenmaker
- Sportsman of the Year – Moruti Mthalane
- Sportsman of the Year with a disability – Ntando Mahlangu
- Sportswoman of the Year – Tatjana Schoenmaker
- Sportswoman of the Year with a disability – Anrune Liebenberg-Weyers
- Team of the Year – Spar Proteas
- Newcomer of the Year – Michael Houlie
- Coach of the Year – Rassie Erasmus
- Volunteer of the Year – Mervyn Mooi
- The Recreation Body of the Year – United through Sports
- Photographer of the Year – Philip Maeta
- School Team of the Year – St Benedict’s College
- Developing school team of the Year – Ikhwezilesizwe Primary School under 13
- The People’s Choice of the Year – Siya Kolisi
- Indigenous Game Team – KZN Khokho Female team
- Federation of the Year – Netball SA
- Sports Administrator of the Year – Cecilia Molokwane