Durban – Olympic swimmer Chad le Clos wants the Durban schoolboy, who was mistakenly named the KwaZulu-Natal Sportsman of Year instead of him, to keep the title.
Speaking for 21-year-old Le Clos, his father, Bert, said on Wednesday: “Let him keep the title and the prize money.”
Reneshan Naidoo, an 18-year-old badminton player from Durban High School, received the award at the KZN Sports Awards on Friday night, but it later emerged Le Clos was the rightful winner and Naidoo the runner-up.
Naidoo’s mother, Nisha, has lashed out at the Department of Sports and Recreation and, according to reports, is considering legal action.
Bert le Clos said his son wanted Naidoo to continue to work hard to achieve his goals and he hoped keeping the award would encourage this.
“I think he also wants to encourage people not to be too greedy. The more you give away, the more you get back.” The error was “just a mistake”.
After the ceremony, officials visited Le Clos and apologised on behalf of the department.
“We are all human and we all make mistakes,” Bert le Clos said.
“It’s not as though it was a calculated move.”
Chad le Clos was awarded the title of Sports Star at the awards. His father said Chad was “chuffed” with the commendation.
“I’ve always taught him to be happy with the hand you’re dealt.”
Naidoo’s mother declined to comment on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, departmental spokesman Sandile Qwabe confirmed there had been a technical error and said there would be a meeting to investigate correcting this, but could not say if any progress had been made.
Qwabe refused to say whether the department would allow Naidoo to keep the title or the R20 000 prize money.
The department is expected to release an “all-encompassing” statement, but Qwabe was not in a position to say when this would be.