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Johannesburg – After capping his season with South Africa's Sports Star of the Year award, double Olympic medallist Chad le Clos is already looking ahead to the 2016 Games in Rio.
Le Clos, who won gold and silver at the London Olympics in August, received the top honour at the awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Sunday night.
“It's going to be a little difficult for me to do better than this year, but I have more goals I want to achieve in swimming –
not just for next year, but for 2016,” Le Clos said.
“With my coach (Graham Hill) and my whole team I believe I can do that.
“I want to take this momentum and keep swimming on a high but it's going to be hard.
“We're training now for the (Short Course) World Championships in December and we'll start afresh in January.”
Le Clos, 20, edged American legend Michael Phelps in the men's 200 metres butterfly final in London and went on to clinch silver in the 100m event in his specialty discipline.
“It has been an incredible year for me,” he said.
“Looking back to last year, when I got the Newcomer of the Year award, I never though I would be the Sports Star of the Year.”
Middle distance runner Caster Semenya, who was second in the Olympic women's 800m final, said she was finally managing to overcome a turbulent three-year period.
Semenya, who was kept off the track for 11 months after winning gold at the 2009 World Athletics Championships, was cleared to run against women in 2010 following a lengthy gender controversy.
She went on to secure silver at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, and while a tactical error cost her a potential gold medal in London, she was pleased with her season after being named Sportswoman of the Year.
“I have not had a great three years,” Semenya said.
“It has been hard for me but I'm trying to overcome the challenges.
“Tonight it was just about celebrating myself and Caster Semenya's resilience in sport.
“I'm very happy about this award and I'm looking forward to the future.”
Fast bowler Vernon Philander, the Sportsman of the Year, also had a superb season, picking up 63 wickets at an average of 15.96
in 10 Test matches.
“I've had a pretty special 12 months. It's almost been a dream,” Philander said.
“My debut against Australia at Newlands was an amazing start to my career, but I never thought that the year would unfold the way it has.
“There have been some special memories out on the pitch– being one of the fastest to 50 wickets, my two 10-fors, but the one that stands out would be the Lord's Test match and regaining the number one Test ranking.” – Sapa