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Ockert de Villiers
JOHANNESBURG: Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos was crowned South African Sports Star of the Year at the SA Sports Awards function in Johannesburg last night.
The 20-year-old clinched the top accolade ahead of the 2011 winner, cricketer Hashim Amla, Natalie du Toit and Cameron van der Burgh (both swimming), Caster Semenya and Oscar Pistorius (both athletics), Siyabonga Nomvete (football) and Vernon Philander (cricket).
Le Clos became an overnight sensation when he beat Michael Phelps by a whisker for the gold medal in the men’s 200m butterfly at the 2012 London Olympics. He went on to win silver in the 100m butterfly behind Phelps.
Philander claimed the Sportsman of the Year trophy following a prolific debut Test season during which he became the second-fastest man to take 50 wickets in the history of cricket.
Rowing SA was one of the night’s big winners as it scooped three awards, with president Wimpie du Plessis named Administrator of the Year and the code taking the Federation of the Year award.
The Olympic gold-medal-winning men’s coxless lightweight fours team of Sizwe Ndlovu, Matthew Britain, John Smith and James Thompson walked away with the Team of the Year award.
Semenya, who was the country’s only medallist in track and field at the London Olympic Games, clinching the 800m silver medal, received the Sportswoman of the Year award.
In the Coach of the Year category, Banyana Banyana’s Joseph Mkhonza walked away with the spoils. He led the South African women’s soccer team to their first Olympic Games, but they failed to advance past the group stage at the London showpiece.
Legendary Paralympian Du Toit was honoured by being named Sportswoman of the Year with Disability. She bowed out of competitive swimming after the London Paralympics, having won 13 gold and two silver medals in Paralympic competitions.
The Sportsman of the Year with Disability went to Pistorius. – Sapa