1. Pretty good for a ‘fly guy
Chad le Clos erased what he considered a disappointing 2016 to bounce back with a vengeance this year to reclaim his pet 200m butterfly world title in Budapest, in July. He continued his revival when he made history as the first male swimmer to win four Fina World Cup Series titles.
2. McCann-do Attitude
Kirsten McCann, the swan of local rowing continued to make history, becoming the country’s first world rowing champion in a singles boat in Sarasota, United States. She won the lightweight single sculls, adding to the lightweight doubles sculls bronze she won with Ursula Grobler in 2015.
3. Moolman-Pasio’s climb
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio recovered from a hip fracture to claim nine podium spots in 2017 including her second overall Giro dell Toscana title in September. She became the highest ranked South African road cyclist ever, climbing to a career-high third place on the UCI world rankings in June.
4. Hank the tank
Hank McGregor confirmed his status as a living legend of canoe marathon, winning a record 10 ICF Canoe World Marathon Championships gold medals, and becoming the most decorated marathon paddler - winning seven K1 and three K2 titles throughout his career. He won the K1 and K2 double gold for the third time this year.
5. Bianca jumping with joy
Gymnast Bianca Zoonekynd became South Africa’s first female champion at the Trampoline World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in October. She won gold in the double mini trampoline event. Her victory came only after she was involved in a car crash in Port Elizabeth that resulted in broken ribs and a punctured lung.
1. Durban 2022 walk back
Stripped of its hosting rights for the Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games, South African suffered an embarrassing blow to its reputation as a world-class destination for major sporting events. It will remain one of the country’s biggest failures after it was awarded the hosting rights little more than a year before, only to renege on most of its agreements.
Scandals have rocked the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee with CEO Tubby Reddy being suspended pending an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. Its problems were further compounded when newly-appointed Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi announced an inquiry into allegations of misconduct early in the new year.
3. Lottery to close taps
The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) dropped the bombshell with policy changes to the way it will distribute funding to sporting bodies in future. New NLC regulations will restrict Sascoc and sporting federations from using allocated funds for international competitions. Although national federations would be able to apply for up to R5 million in funding. they would not be able to use to for overseas travel.
1. Emergence of new talent
The Commonwealth Games next year will provide the ideal opportunity for new talent to come to the fore.
2. Stability at Sascoc, federations
Not a year goes by where there isn’t some sort of issue with a sports federation in South Africa. One can only hope that South African sport will be run in a more professional manner in 2018. Glass half-full stuff... but we can dream.