Hockey player Ammaarah Hendricks and rugby player Duncan Saal were named Maties Sport's Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year for 2018 at the annual Maties Sport Awards on Monday, 15 October.
Ammaarah could not attend the event as she was on her way back from representing South Africa at the Youth Olympics in Argentina. Earlier this year, she served as the captain of the SA U/18 hockey team that made history by beating Australia in a series for the first time. She was also a member of the team that won gold at the African Youth Games.
Duncan was a key player in the Maties Rugby team that won the Varsity Cup competition and was named Backline Player of the Tournament. He was a member of the SA Student Sevens team that won gold at the World Student Sevens Championships and was included in the WP Currie Cup squad.
“I feel very blessed and grateful," he said after receiving his award.
Swimmer Christian Sadie, who won a silver medal in the S7 50m freestyle event at the Commonwealth Games in Australia earlier this year, is the Parasport Sportsman of the Year.
Karin le Roux, who coaches Parasport athletes such as Zanele Situ and Kerwin Noemdo, was named Coach of the Year for individual sport.
Maties Rugby's 1st team – winners of the 2018 Varsity Cup, USSA and WP Super League A competitions – is the Team of the Year, while the team's coach, Hawies Fourie, is the 2018 Coach of the Year for team sports. Maties Rugby was also named Club of the Year.
A total of 52 students were awarded full colours – which meant they represented South Africa at international level – while 105 students were awarded half colours.
“Tonight, we are here to celebrate another successful year," said Ilhaam Groenewald, Chief Director: Maties Sport.
“But it is important to ask, what does success mean? Success for me as the leader of Maties Sport means creating an enabling environment in which our student-athletes can develop into leaders that will have a positive impact on others. The most important task of any sport leader or administrator in the higher education environment is ensuring that our student-athletes graduate. My dream for you is that you will celebrate success in all spheres of your lives."
Prof Stan du Plessis, COO of Stellenbosch University (SU), praised all student-athletes.
“Maties Sport and Stellenbosch University would like to honour student-athletes whose hard work and dedication led to success both on the sport field and, more importantly, in the class room. They leave Stellenbosch as well-rounded students, with the graduate attributes we would like to instil in all Maties."
Guest speaker Kass Naidoo, South Africa's first woman cricket commentator and founder of the country's longest running women's sport recognition platform – the gsport awards – said that she sincerely believes in recognising excellence.
Her advice to student-athletes was: “If it's never been done before, go out there and smash it. Live in the moment and grab every opportunity you're given."
Photo credit: Anton Jordaan