Amla wins SA Sports Star of the Year

Monday, August 22, 2011
Nthambeleni Gabara

Rustenburg - The Proteas right-hand upper order batsman and medium-pace bowler, Hashim Amla, won the SA 2011 Sports Star of the Year during the glittering awards ceremony held at Sun City.

However, the long bearded 28-year-old cricketer was not available to collect his award, which includes R250 000 and a brand new Lexus vehicle.

The South African Sports Awards have been created to recognise and honour individuals and teams who have excelled both on and off the field between November 1 and October 31 each year.

In this category, Amla, who is currently ranked as the number one batsman in ODIs by International Cricket Council (ICC), beat Cameron van der Burgh, Charl Schwartzel, Cecil Afrika and Noko Matlou.

However, Matlou and Van der Burgh won the Sport Woman/Man of the year accolades respectively.

Amla took his career to a new level when he made a career-best 253 not out in the first Test against India in Nagpur in 2010 and followed it with a century in each innings in the second Test at Eden Gardens, coincidentally the ground on which he had made his Test match debut six years earlier.

He is the leading runs scorer in Test cricket for the current calendar year, with 674 runs at an average of 168.50.

He has also joined the distinguished club of those who have scored at least 10 Test centuries for the Proteas.

The Pretoria-based Van der Burgh is Africa's first home-trained world record holder. He has represented South Africa at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

He has won numerous World Championship medals since his debut in 2007, when he took a bronze medal.

Van der Burgh obtained his first world long-course record (27.06) in the 50m breaststroke, in the semi-finals at South African nationals in April 2009.

Former world number golfer Ernie Els, who was also unavailable to collect his award, former 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee boss, Danny Jordaan, Premier Soccer League chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, former South African Football Association President Molefi Oliphant and Karate South Africa's Peter Thage received the Steve Tshwete lifetime achievement awards.

Steve Tshwete is the late activist of the African National Congress, who was instrumental in deracialising all the sporting codes as a Minister of Sports and Recreation after the dawn of democracy in 1994.

Upon receiving his award, Jordaan recalled Tshwete's commitment to use sports to unify South Africans.

"I still remember his words when he told us that in essence of apartheid, we must now begin to plant a new seed in our society through sport," he said.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who hailed the Springboks for defeating New Zealand on Saturday, honoured former Bafana skipper Aaron Mokoena, Bafana legends Mark Fish, Phil Masinga, Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, Jomo Sono, to mention but a few, with the Andrew Mlangeni Green Jacket and dummy cheque of R10 000.

Mlangeni, 85, is a liberation struggle hero who spent 26 years on Robben Island with former President Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and several other anti-apartheid activists.

The Bulls were named Team of the Year and their mentor, Frans Ludeke, won the Coach of the Year Award.

The Bulls won the 2009 Super Rugby and Currie Cup competitions, and defended their Super Rugby title in 2010.

Young swimmer, Chad le Clos, the 200m butterfly short course world champion, was recognised as the Newcomer of the Year.

Wheelchair tennis players Lucas Sithole and Kgothatso Montjane both scooped the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability.

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