Wayde big winner at Sports awards
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Cape Town - He made the nation proud by winning a gold medal, and now Wayde van Niekerk has the votes to prove that he is the golden boy of South African sport.
The 23-year-old Van Niekerk, who won the 400m world athletics title in August, was announced as the Sports Star of the Year at the SA Sports Awards in Mangaung in the Free State last night.
Van Niekerk beat off the challenges of wheelchair tennis champion Lucas Sithole, cycling star Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, swimmer Chad le Clos and the Proteas’ world No 1 batsman AB de Villiers to the title, which is decided by a public vote, which was facilitated through an SMS campaign and was dubbed “People’s Choice of the Year”.
Sprinter Van Niekerk, who was born and raised in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, surprised the rest of the athletics fraternity when he streaked to the 400m title at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing in August.
That was Van Niekerk’s first major medal, and his time of 43.48 seconds was the fourth fastest in history. The 400m record is held by legendary American Michael Johnson in 43.18.
Van Niekerk was also chosen as the Sportsman of the Year, where the other nominees were Le Clos and mountain biker Greg Minnaar.
The Sportswoman of the Year award went to Moolman-Pasio, who is the South African and African cycling champion who has also raced successfully overseas.
Sports Star of the Year: Wayde van Niekerk (Athletics)
Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability: Ilse Hayes (WP Athletics)
Sportsman of the Year with a Disability: Lucas Sithole (Tennis SA)
Sportswoman of the Year: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cycling)
Sportsman of the Year: Wayde van Niekerk (Athletics)
Newcomer of the Year: Kagiso Rabada (Cricket)
Team of the Year: Springbok Sevens (Rugby)
Coach of the Year: Graham Hill (Swimming)
Administrator of the Year: Virginia Mabaso (Rowing SA)