SA Sports Awards makes a comeback with big names

Masters golf champion Charl Schwartzel, Proteas top order batsman Hashim Amla and swimming world record holder Cameron van der Burgh are among the nominees for Sports Star of the Year.

The department of sport and recreation said the South African Sports Awards was being revived after a two-year absence, with the winners to be announced at Sun City on August 21.

Schwartzel was in fine form, at home and abroad, during the voting period, which ran from November 1 2009 to April 30 2011.

The 26-year-old bagged three Sunshine Tour titles before becoming the third South African to win the US Masters at Augusta in April.

Amla, the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman, made 1 848 runs in limited overs internationals during the voting period, at an average of 63.72, and scored 1 437 Test runs at an average of 65.31, including a career best unbeaten 253 against India in Nagpur in February 2010.

Van der Burgh, who holds the 50m and 100m breaststroke short course world records, and the 50m long course global mark, picked up medals in both his speciality events at the 2009 World Swimming Championships, the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2010 World Short Course Championships.

Difficult choices
Also nominated for the most prized accolade at the awards are Springbok Sevens flyhalf Cecil Afrika and Banyana Banyana striker Noko Matlou.

Afrika (23) scored 40 tries—more than any other player—in the 2010/11 IRB Sevens World Series, and secured the most points in the competition, helping the Blitzboks to second place in the series and the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Matlou, a former African Women’s Player of the Year, steered South Africa to the bronze medal at the African Women’s Championships last year, and has since stretched her goal tally to 48 strikes in 61 matches for the national women’s team.

Van der Burgh has also been nominated for the Sportsman of the Year award, along with South African 400m hurdles record holder LJ van Zyl and Bafana Bafana midfielder Thulani Serero.

Matlou’s name has been put forward for the Sportswoman of the Year award, alongside hockey player Pietie Coetzee and javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen.

Swimming sensation Chad le Clos, the 200m butterfly short course world champion, and promising long jumper Luvo Manyonga, the world junior champion, are in line for the Newcomer of the Year accolade.

Team work
Versatile track and field athlete Hilton Langenhoven, sprinter Samkelo Radebe and wheelchair tennis player Lucas Sithole are among the nominees for the Sportsman with a Disability award.

Paralympic legend Natalie du Toit, a 10-time gold medallist at the quadrennial Games, heads the list of nominees for the Sportswoman with a Disablity award.

Du Toit is joined by fellow swimmer Emily Gray and wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane.

Bafana Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane and Blue Bulls mentor Frans Ludeke are among the nominees for Coach of the Year.

The Bulls, who won the 2009 Super Rugby and Currie Cup competitions, and defended their Super Rugby title in 2010, and South Africa’s bowls team who won three gold medals at last year’s Commonwealth Games are among the nominees for Team of the Year.

The SA Golf Association, the SA Hockey Association and Swimming SA have been nominated for the Federation of the Year award.—Sapa


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