JOHANNESBURG – World long jump champion Luvo Manyonga was the big winner on Sunday night at the SA Sports Awards in Kempton Park, where he was crowned the Sports Star of the Year.
The South African long jump phenom also beat the likes of Wayde van Niekerk and Chad le Clos to claim the Sportsman of the Year accolade.
“I’m a bit emotional, but it is going away now. The award is mine and I am the Sportsman of the Year,” Manyonga said.
“I just want to keep riding the wave until I retire some day, and I am looking forward to next year.”
Three-time 800m world champion Caster Semenya was named Sportswoman of the Year, receiving recognition for her efforts in 2017, as well as the People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year, which is voted for by sports fans in South Africa.
“It is a great feeling winning awards, but it is no longer about that, it is about creating great performances for my people,” Semenya said.
“It is about going out there and carrying the flag, knowing people are behind you and love you for who you are.”
The Blitzboks were crowned Sports Team of the Year thanks to their World Rugby Sevens Series victory earlier this year.
“It is a massive privilege to accept this award on behalf of our team, over the last three or four years, we’ve been working really hard,” said Blitzboks captain Philip Snyman.
Track and field dominated the awards evening, with seven of the top eight gongs going the way of athletics coaches and athletes.
Jean Verster was recognised for his influence in coaching Semenya to the 800m gold medal at the London World Championships, where she also won the 1 500m bronze medal.
Rising star Sokwakhana Zazini, who posted a new world youth best in the 400m hurdles earlier this year, was named Newcomer of the Year.
Zazini then annihilated the rest of the field at the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya to win the global title.
But the night belonged to Manyonga to top a stellar year for the horizontal jumper, in which he had broken the South African record twice before winning his maiden world title.
He set the sandpit alight in 2017, leaping over 8.60m on four occasions, where he first broke Khotso Mokoena’s national mark with a jump of 8.62m in Pretoria in March, before winning the South African title with a jump of 8.65m in April.
He completed a winning streak over a full calendar year over 10 meetings before finishing the year off with the Diamond League Trophy in the long jump.
Meanwhile, Ilse Hayes was again named Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability, with Dyan Buis earning the Sportsman of the Year with a Disability Award.
SA Sports Awards Winners
Sports Star of the Year: Luvo Manyonga
Sportsman of the Year: Luvo Manyonga
Sportsman of the Year with a Disability: Dyan Buis
Sportswoman of the Year: Caster Semenya
Sportswoman with a Disability: Ilse Hayes
People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year: Caster Semenya
Team of the Year: Springbok Sevens
Newcomer of the Year: Sokwakhana Zazini
Coach of the Year: Jean Verster
Volunteer of the Year: Samuel Maduwa
Indigenous Games of the Year: North West Kho-kho team
National Federation of the Year: Lifesaving SA
Recreation Body of the Year: In-touch Community Support Group
Photographer of the Year: Simphiwe Nkwali
Journalist of the Year: OG Molefe
School Team of the Year: St Mary’s School Waverley
Developing School Team of the Year: Hlangabeza Primary School Under-13 Chess
Sports Administrator of the year: Sanelisiwe Khuzwayo
Sports Minister’s Excellence Awards
Desiree Ellis – Banyana Banyana Soccer Coach
Ruswahl Samaai – Athletics (Long Jump)
Lloyd Harris – SA Tennis Player
Gift Ngoepe – Baseball (US Major League Baseball)
Dané van Niekerk – Proteas Women Cricket