JOHANNESBURG - Three world beaters in their respective codes will be battling it out for the South African Sportswoman-of-the-Year Award at the annual ceremony in Johannesburg over the weekend.
The three short-listed athletes will be spearheaded by middle-distance ace Caster Semenya with rowing extraordinaire Kirsten McCann and cycling queen Ashley Moolman-Passio sharing the spotlight with her.
The SA Sports Awards are notorious for getting their nominations and winners horribly wrong but they managed to hit the nail on the head with the nomination of the country’s leading female sports stars.
These three women's performances on the global stage speaks for themselves and it was a no-brainer for them to make the list.
Semenya has also been nominated for People’s Choice Sports Star and Sports Star of the Year Awards which could provide some consolation after she was snubbed by the IAAF.
Her performances on tracks around the world have been unparalleled over the last two years where she has gone unbeaten in her specialist 800m while adding a world 600m best at the end of the 2017 season.
Semenya raced to her third 800m title at the IAAF World Championships in London in August after she surprised with a 1 500m bronze medal.
The track phenom could win back-to-back SA Sportswoman-of-the-Year Awards but is up against some stiff opposition.
McCann should make a strong challenge for the crown after she became South Africa’s first world rowing champion in a singles boat.
After winning the lightweight women’s single sculls at the Rowing World Cup in Lucerne, McCann proved her grit by winning the world title in trying conditions in Sarasota in the United States.
A dream come true! It has been an incredible season, and I am eternally grateful to everyone for your support last week! There are so many people (coaches @barrowrow , family, support staff) who have worked so hard behind the scenes to help me achieve one of my goals and one of my dreams! Thank you for all the love and support. #iloverowing #worldrowingchampionships #ilovemyjob #gold #onegoal #rowingrsa @rowsa_ @teamsouthafrica #rmb @rmb #thinkingpullingtogether #motivationtokeepgoing #lightweightrowing #happygirl #proudlysouthafrican
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Boasting a history of breaking new ground, McCann was the first South African woman to win a medal at the Under-23 World Championships finishing third in the lightweight single sculls in 2010.
In 2013 she became the World Student champion, before breaking new ground winning the 2015 world lightweight double sculls bronze medal with Ursula Grobler.
Moolman-Pasio, a two-time Sportswoman-of-the-Year winner, has been in the form of her life following a superb Rio Olympic Games where she claimed a top-10 place on the road.
She made an incredible comeback after suffering a hip fracture towards the end of last year, becoming the highest ranked South African road cyclist climbing to a career-best third place on the UCI world rankings in June.
Moolman-Pasio regularly stepped onto the podium, including her second overall Giro dell Toscana title in September.
All three women deserve to walk away with the prize.