A-Listers

SOCIALS | Women rule in the sport awards

02 September 2018 - 00:00


They're the country's longest-running nod to women in sport, so it was fitting that this year the gsport awards took place on the last day of the month honouring all things female.
The brainchild of Kass Naidoo, our first woman cricket commentator, they were held at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg, on Friday evening.
Stepping off the red carpet, I say hello to TV personality Lalla Hirayama before heading inside where I meet one of the country's greatest sportswomen, Natalie du Toit. She is wearing a gleaming shift by Cape Town designers Kl√ľk CGDT.
The Olympian, who these days is the head of the athletes commission at the South African Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee, tells me that along with completing her studies she is drumming up support for a bitcoin company with a sports bent called Sports Podium.
Then it's hello to one of the most stylish lasses in the land, Uyanda Mbuli, before meeting our first woman sports minister, Tokozile Xasa. She is wearing a black dress finished off with a hefty gold necklace. She says developing women's sport is top of her agenda.
It's a bit of a wait before we are beckoned to the hall where two of the night's nominees, sports presenter Vaylen Nkosazana Kirtley and - here's a nice touch - former Banyana Banyana captain Simphiwe Dludlu, step up as comperes.
What follows is a moving, if slightly long, night, with more than 23 gongs handed out to women including perky Gontse Morake for school sports star of the year, double Commonwealth gold medallist Tatjana Schoenmaker for emerging athlete of the year and tennis hero Mpho Makhoba, who took home two trophies - one for special recognition and another for volunteer of the year for her efforts to raise the profile of women's tennis in SA.
A women's sports event is not complete without handing out the shiny stuff to Caster Semenya. While the sports icon was competing in the series of Diamond League athletics meetings in Europe, she picked up two of the night's top awards in Johannesburg - for athlete and woman of the year.
Kirtley scored the style star gong but Dludlu, who could have trimmed down her anecdotes between awards, sadly went home empty-handed.
The night's moving moment was when Paralympian Zanele Situ drew two nods, including athlete of the year with a disability, which she dedicated to her 12-year-old gymnast daughter Azamazi. And the night's golden girl? Undoubtedly Naidoo, who, having heeded my advice to ditch her boring black of last year, stole the show in a shimmering metallic gown.

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