Lim­popo hon­ours top sports stars

Sowetan - - News - By Zöe Ma­hopo ■

Top ath­letes were given an op­por­tu­nity to shine dur­ing the 2017 Lim­popo Sport and Recre­ation Awards cer­e­mony held at the Protea Ho­tel Ranch Re­sort in Polok­wane on Oc­to­ber 1.

The event re­flected the pro­vin­cial De­part­ment of Sport, Arts and Cul­ture’s com­mit­ment in declar­ing 2017 “The year of the ath­lete”.

With a total of 18 cat­e­gories, the awards recog­nised some of South Africa’s most cel­e­brated ath­letes, in­clud­ing mid­dle-dis­tance sen­sa­tion Caster Se­menya, who scooped the award for Lim­popo’s sportswoman of the year.

The sports­man of the year award went to soft­ball wiz­ard Tidima Kekana, while Mamelodi Sun­downs’ de­fen­sive mid­fielder Hlom­pho Kekana was awarded Lim­popo’s sports star of the year. In­ci­den­tally, both Kekanas hail from Zebe­diela.

Ath­letes from the across the prov­ince, along with other stake­hold­ers in the sports fra­ter­nity, were treated to mu­si­cal per­for­mances and tra­di­tional dances to mark the mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion.

MEC for Sports, Arts and Cul­ture Onicca Moloi said the recog­ni­tion of hard­work­ing ath­letes was key in de­vel­op­ing sport in the prov­ince.

Moloi said ath­letes would con­tinue to be at the cen­tre of the de­part­ment’s plans.

“For us as govern­ment, all peo­ple who par­tic­i­pate in sports in one way or an­other are win­ners, even if they don’t get nom­i­nated,” she said.

Moloi said govern­ment was com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for ath­letes in the var­i­ous sport­ing codes to thrive.

“All our ath­letes at both devel­op­ment and pro­fes­sional lev­els are like a pre­cious stone that we all ad­mire,” she said.

Moloi said sport­ing codes such as rugby, cricket, chess and swim­ming would be pro­moted in pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties.

This year the de­part­ment launched the “Chess in Schools” pro­ject where public schools in the Water­berg district were pre­sented with two chess sets each. Moloi said the chess pro­gramme was aimed at rais­ing a gen­er­a­tion of crit­i­cal thinkers.

The de­part­ment is also look­ing for­ward to launch­ing the swim­ming pro­gramme, which is ex­pected to ben­e­fit more than 300 chil­dren. The pro­gramme will be rolled out in part­ner­ship with Lim­popo Aquatics.

Moloi also took the time to thank and ac­knowl­edge part­ner Stan­dard Bank and spon­sors, in­clud­ing Audi Cen­tre Polok­wane, En­gine, Sun Meropa, De Beers, Park Inn and Se­laki Sport Leisure.

Trea­sury MEC Rob Too­ley, who gave the key­note ad­dress in his ca­pac­ity as act­ing pre­mier, said the awards served as an op­por­tu­nity to hon­our tal­ented ath­letes of Lim­popo.

“Sports­men and women in this hall will agree with me when I say that there can be no greater hon­our for any per­son, whether in lit­er­a­ture, mu­sic or sports, than to be hon­oured and to be ap­pre­ci­ated at home,” Too­ley said.

/ PHO­TOS ZÖE MA­HOPO

Cul­tural dancers en­ter­tained guests at the 2017 Lim­popo Sport and Recre­ation Awards cer­e­mony held at the Protea Ho­tel Ranch Re­sort in Polok­wane.

MEC Onicca Moloi dur­ing the awards in Polok­wane.

Pupils from Mony­ong Sec­ondary School, north of Polok­wane, re­ceive school team of the year award.

Jen­nifer Masek­wa­meng, cen­tre, scooped the sportswoman of the year with a dis­abil­ity award.

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