(Published - 11 October 2018)
UWC Rugby Club was the biggest winner at this year’s UWC Sports Awards, taking home most of the top individual accolades.
Springbok Women and Springbok Women Sevens star, Babalwa Latsha, scooped the prestigious Sportswoman of the Year title, while Baby Boks sensation Lyle Hendricks received the Sportsman of the Year award – the only two awards with monetary compensation of R30 000 each. In addition, Chester Williams won the Coach of the Year category and his rugby team was chosen as the Team of the Year.
Hendricks staved off competition from rising Cape Cobras star Lizaad Williams and supa pool player Kevin Martin to win the award, while Latsha beat Andrie Steyn, who plays for the national cricket team, and netball star Danelle Lotchner, who also plays for the national netball team.
“I’m excited and extremely overjoyed about this achievement,” Latsha said. “It is not just the recognition of what I do individually but it’s an achievement for women rugby as a whole here at UWC. I’m very grateful for this award, this award is bigger than me; it is bigger than what I represent. It has to do with all the people behind the scenes who have always been supporting to me from day one.”
Hendricks was equally excited. “I feel very honoured and blessed for receiving the award,” he commented. “I’m really pleased and overwhelmed, especially given that I’m a first-year student. There were other good nominees who could have got it but, thankfully, it came my way. I’m going to take it forward to next year when we play the Varsity Cup. I will take it as an experience and motivation to other guys and show them that hard work and dedication does pay off in the end.”
At the glitz and glamour event, the UWC Netball Club won the Club of the Year; rowing player Tessa Preen took home the Student Administrator of the Year; Dr Simone Titus walked away with a Special Recognition Award (for pioneering the Athlete Academic Support Programme); and Robyn Burrows (hockey) and Cindy Amsterdam both received the Academic Achievers Award. Athletes - administrators and coaches were also honoured for receiving half and full colours.
UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, congratulated the winners and sportspersons in general for their achievements. “You are the champions because you don’t give up when the going gets tough,” he said in his keynote address. “You are the champions because you take the risk in training and on the field and you are the champions because you have the courage and the strength to overcome setbacks.”
Prof Pretorius emphasised UWC’s mantra, saying, ‘We don’t want to send out students who are certificated, but those who are educated to be well-rounded citizens’, and sport is part of that holistic development of students.”