The prestigious SuperSport Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year Awards for the Bloemfontein and Eastern Free State newspapers were held on Friday 4 December at the Windmill Casino Conference Centre. Places were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd for our three newspaper partners – Bloemnuus, Express Mangaung and Express Eastern Free State.
Our guest speakers for the day were Torsten van Jaarsveld from the Toyota Cheetahs, Runaldi de Beer from SpecSavers who has a diploma in sports vision. Runaldi graduated in 2012 from the University of the Free State with her B.Optometry degree. In 2013 she received her diploma in sports vision from the University of Johannesburg. Runaldi has been with SpecSavers Welkom since 2012. Our second guest speaker, Torsten van Jaarsveld from the Free State Cheetahs, was captain of the 2014 Toyota Free State Cheetahs in the Currie Cup and this year represented Namibia in the Rugby World Cup.
SpecSavers came on board by sponsoring R100 x off sunglasses vouchers to all attendees and a R250 voucher for the runner-up.
The awards ceremony was a resounding success with 70 attendees. The coveted awards went to:
1st place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Bloemnuus
Tharina van der Walt– 15 years old (Athletics and Netball)
Tharina van der Walt (15) was chosen as the SuperSport Let’s Play Sport Star of the year for Bloemnews. She is a gifted athlete and netball player.
She came first in three athletic meetings namely: Region Zone 1, Motheo/Xhariep meeting and Free State Secondary schools Championships of shot put, discus throw and hammer throw. She was also awarded the best girls field athlete at the Region Zone 1.
At the National Secondary Schools Championships, she came in 3rd in Shot put 2nd in hammer throw and 1st in Discus throw with a new South African record. She was once again awarded best girls field athlete in South Africa. Thereafter, she when on to compete at the ASA National Championships and came in second in all her field items. At the South African Open Championships, Tharina participated in the under 17 category. She came in first in Hammer throw with a 57.40m SA leading for girls 15.
2nd place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Bloemnuus
Thabo Verster– 12 years old (Athletics, hockey en Rugby)
Thabo is plays hockey for the Grey College Primary under 13 A-team and rugby for the under 12 A-team.
He received a Trophy for the best track athlete and was awarded with a gold medal at the Free State Athletics meeting. During Grey College’s prize giving, he was named the best boys athlete in the Free State. Thabo’s personal best time in the 75m hurdles were 11.34s. He just missed the South African record with 0:04 second but still received gold at the SA’s. He won the 150m hurdles in winning a record time of 20,68s and won his second gold medal.
Thabo was the best track athlete received the SA Schools athletic awards ceremony.
3rd place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Bloemnuus
Tailyn Seffert – 12 years old (Athletic, swimming and hockey)
Tailyn currently swims at Otters swimming club in Bloemfontein and is coached by Lynette Wessels. At this year’s CANA Africa Swimming Champs in Luanda, Angola, Tailyn represent the South African Swim Team. Her achievements are as follows: She won eight gold and one silver medal. Tailyn was also named the best under 12 swimmers at the gala and the woman’s swimmer of the championships.
On the last day of the championships Tailyn has a comfortable victory in the 200m individual medley with a time of 2:41:25. The ladies in the team won a total of 18 gold medals and Tailyn won a total of eight. She was the only Free State swimmer who was selected for the South African swimming team.
Tailyn also participated in the Free State Biathlon and is sixth in the South African rankings. She was also taken in the inter-provincial swimming team and swim at level 2. Apart from swimming and biathlon, she is also part of the Orange Girls Primary School under 12A hockey team.
1st place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Express Mangaung
Ruan Dippenaar– 12 years old (Athletics, rugby and cricket, Combat Tang Soo Do Martial Arts)
Ruan Dippenaar (12) has been chosen as the SuperSport Let’s Play Sport Star of the year for Express Mangaung. The President Steyn Primary school pupil is a gifted athlete, rugby and cricket player. He is also a Combat Tang Soo Do Martial Arts student.
At the Combat Tang Soo Do Martial Arts Free State Championships held at the University of the Free State, Ruan won two gold medals for weapons and forms and a silver medal for sparring. Thereafter he competed at the Martial Arts and Games Committee of South Africa (MASA) held in Potchefstroom. He obtained two gold medals for sparring and forms, and a silver medal for weapons.
During the South African Championships he obtained two gold medals for forms and weapon, and a bronze medal for sparring. The South African Karate team also won a bronze medal for team forms. Most recently he competed at the World Championships held in Las Vegas in the United States of America, as part of the National Developments team. He received two gold medals for weapon and sparring, silver medal for forms. Ruan was also named the World Champion for boys under 12 years for weapons and sparring.
2nd place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Express Mangaung
Riaan Dippenaar – 9 years old (athlete, rugby and cricket, Combat Tang Soo Do Martial Arts)
Riaan Dippenaar (9) a pupil at the President Steyn Primary school pupil is a gifted rugby and cricket player. He is also a Combat Tang Soo Do Martial Arts student.
At the Combat Tang Soo Do Martial Arts Free State Championships, held at the University of the Free State earlier this year, Riaan won two gold medals for weapons and sparring and a bronze medal for forms. Thereafter he competed at the Martial Arts and Games Committee of South Africa (MASA) held in Potchefstroom. He obtained three gold medals for sparring, forms, and weapons.
During the South African Championships held at Wits University, he obtained two gold medals for forms and weapon, and a silver medal for sparring. Riaan was selected for the National Development team to represent South Africa in Las Vegas. He also received his Martial Arts South African Development Colors. September was Nelspruit tournament and he received two gold medals for weapons and forms, and silver for sparring.
3rd place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Express Mangaung
Sean Whitehead – 18 years old (cricket, hockey)
The talented all-rounder was chosen for his achievements in cricket. He also plays hockey.
Sean has been named the Free State cricket player of the year for 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015. He has also been part of the St. Andrews first cricket team to compete in Zimbabwe two years in a row.
He was the South African u/17 captain for Cricket Cubs week in Stellenbosch. He also represented the u/19 cricket Free State team at the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week. He has earned the opportunity to represent the u/19 South African team, to tour Bangladesh in April this year.
EXPRESS EASTERN FREE STATE:
1st place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Express Eastern Free State
Hernu van Vuuren– 17 years old (Athletics, Golf, Sevens Rugby and Cricket)
Hernu van Vuuren (17), a pupil at the Bethlehem Voortrekker High School has been selected as the Express Eastern Free State’s SuperSport Let’s Play Sports Star of the year for his excellent performance in athletics.
Hernu has represented the Free State since 2010 at the South African Athletics Championships for javelin. In 2015 he won a gold medal at the Free State Athletics Championship with a new record of 72.70m. Thereafter he won a silver medal at the South African Championship held in Bloemfontein. During the South African Open Championships held in Potchefstroom, he won a gold medal.
Hernu set a new javelin record of 72.68m and obtained a gold medal at the Africa Youth Championships in Mauritius. Most recently he represented South African at the World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia. He won the qualification round with a tournament-best of 79.04m and ended fifth in the final will a distance of 76.04m. He is currently fourth on the World Youth rankings 2015.
2nd place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Express Eastern Free State
Martin Saayman – 16 years old (Karate)
For the last four years Martin represented the Free State the Karate South Africa (KSA) All Styles championship. The last three years he gained his Protea Colors by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic (SASCOC). Since 2013 he was ranked first in South Africa in his weight and age group by the KSA.
During the Free State Karate trails Martin was selected for the Free State Karate team. Thereafter he competed at the KSA South African Championship and won a silver medal. He was also chosen for the Protea team to represent South African at the KSA World Karate Federation (WKF) Zone 6 Africa Championships and the WKF Youth Cup in Umag Croatia.
Martin was awarded with a gold medal in three events, namely: KSA South African Championships, KSA Elite Championships and Free State Karate Open. As a result of winning gold at the KSA South African Championships he was chosen for the South African Japan Karate Association (JKA) team.
As part of the Protea team he represents South Africa at the 8th Commonwealth Karate Championship in Delhi, India. He also represented SA at the Karate Junior World Championship held in Indonesia.
3rd place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Express Eastern Free State
Sizwe Kenny Msingisane – 14 years old (Boxing)
Sizwe was named the District and Smiling Tiger Boxing Club Youth Boxer of the year 2014. Earlier this year he was crowed the winner of the Provincial Championships held in February at Senekal, for the 54Kg weight category. Thereafter he took part in the South African Youth and Junior Championships in Welkom, where he won a silver medal for the 54Kg weight category. He has been named the District Boxer of the year and District champion 2015. He also represented his District and the South African national Youth Junior Championships and was awarded with a silver medal.