Johannesburg - Olympic gold medalist Chad le Clos was one of five nominees for the South African Sports Awards 2013 Sports Star of the Year, announced at a breakfast in Midrand on Wednesday.
Le Clos, who walked away with the R1-million winner's cheque last year, was back in the running alongside Protea batsman Hashim Amla, winner in 2011, Bafana Bafana captain and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, wheelchair tennis player and US Open star Lucas Sithole, and road runner Mapaseka Makhanya. She recently won the women's 10km Grand Prix challenge series and Gauteng marathon.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula set the stage for the nominations of the eighth edition of the awards.
“It is our intention to embrace people of substance, people who do the best for their sport and their country,” Mbalula said on Wednesday.
“No athletes want to represent mediocrity and we do not roll out the red carpet for mediocrity, but only for champions.”
The winner of the coveted Sportsman of the Year title would receive a cheque for R1m and a new car. A cheque for R500 000 would also be paid to a charity. Each nominee would receive R15 000.
Mbalula singled out retired Paralympic swimmer Natalie du Toit, who was recently awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in Queen Elizabeth II's honours list for her service to the sport.
Sithole put South Africa on the map in disabled tennis, winning his first grand slam singles title in his category last month, following his win at the British Open in July.
Sithole was also nominated for Sportsman of the Year with a Disability. He would be competing against cyclist Ernst van Dyk and blind 200m and 400m runner Hilton Langenhoven.
Nominees for women with a disability were runner and long jump specialist Ilse Hayes, wheelchair tennis player Kgothatso Montjane and cyclist Roxanne Burns.
There were 17 categories for the annual awards, an SABC, SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, and ministry of sport and recreation initiative. The winners would be announced in November.