UWC’s Outstanding Athletes Received Their Due At The 2016 Sports Awards Ceremony
UWC netball sensation Juambaije Zuana has been crowned as UWC Sportswoman of the Year, and chess star Shane Willenberg received the Sportsman of the Year award at the glitzy 2016 Annual Sports Awards ceremony.
Zuana, who has represented her home country of Namibia at international events, beat top athletes Petunia Obisi and Tamzin Thomas, and Proteas star Andre Steyn, to win the accolade. Willenberg, on the other hand, beat boxing champion Sinethemba Blom and rising cricketer Jason Smith to the crown.
Other award recipients included netball coach Janine Du Toit for the Coach of the Year, the rugby males sevens team for Team of the Year, and Dance Sport for the Club of the Year. Gracious Baloyi of the Female Football team received the Student Administrator of the Year award, and netballer Andre Van Zyl received the Top Academic Achiever of the Year.
Coaches Du Toit (netball), Cheslin Paris (dance sport), Keith Dankers (Swimming), and Lwando Mdleleni and Salie Adams (both football) all received coaches’ awards. Special recognition was given to Banyana Banyana stars Leandra Smeda and Thembi Kgatlana, Robben Island swimming champion Shannon Austin, Paralympian Hilton Langenhoven, and South African champion runner Eugene Klaasen. Athletes were also honoured for receiving half and full colours merits, and for representing their countries.
Keynote speaker, Professor Pamela Dube, UWC Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Development and Support, noted that the ceremony sends a very strong message about the combined importance of curriculum and co-curriculum foci. In the next five years, she said, the University will focus on the broader experience of students, including thinking in different ways of providing improved support to the various sporting codes.
“This focus encourages interaction and fitness; it teaches healthy competition and promotes social cohesion. That is why we are slowly increasing investment and support to sport in line with the University strategic plan.”
Prof Dube said the challenge is to construct an athlete development pathway from the programme stage of talent identification, participation, competition and on to high performance levels for the delivery of elite athletes.
“The key objective is for our athletes to aspire with confidence to the highest levels of sporting achievements.”
Prof Dube applauded the contribution of athletes, coaches, administrators and sponsors, “who have worked tirelessly to project a good image of this university”.
“A university is as good as its students,” she said, “and as our torch bearers we are proud of you, and of how you have positioned yourselves as shining examples of excellence.”