The prestigious SuperSport Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year Awards for the Bloemfontein newspapers were held on Friday 10 November at the Windmill Casino Conference Centre. First and second places were awarded for the Express Mangaung Let’s Play Sport Stars.
The guest speakers for the day were Niell Jordaan from the Toyota Cheetahs and Liani Myburgh from Spec-Savers, who spoke about the importance of vision in sports.
Niel emphasized the importance of enjoying your sport, building camaraderie while you are playing sport, especially at school, to work through disappointments, work hard to succeed, to stay humble and to never give up.
The coveted awards went to:
1st place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Express Mangaung
Obed Lekhehle (17)
Obed Lekhehle (17), a grade 11 pupil from the Hendrik Potgieter Agricultural School in Reddersburg was crowned the winner of the SuperSport Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year Awards for Mangaung Express.
The 17-year-old Obed’s right leg was amputated after being hit by a car in March 2008. This did not prevent him from performing on the sports field and he made his disability category (T-42) for athletics. He broke the South African u/18 high jump record at the Nedbank Championships for the Physically Disabled in Port Elizabeth and equalled the Africa record. Obed achieved first place for long jump and qualified for the World Para Athletics Championships held in London during July 2017.
Obed’s achievements demonstrate that he has the courage and discipline which are embodiment necessary for success. The courage he has enabled him show he is or would not be defined by physical disability status rather his special talent and ability to thrive.
While some look or view his physical disability as the inability to prevent him from achieving, he proved he’s courageous. His courage has inspired him to excel in competitive Long Jump and High Jump competitions at different levels, achieve national record and equal African record in High Jump.
He proved he is a worthy champion achieving first place in long jump and qualifying for the World Para Athletics Championship in London during July.
2nd place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Express Mangaung
Simeon Vorster (13)
Simeon Vorster has shown he has great potential to rise to stardom. He has a bright future ahead of him at this tender age. A holder of five new records in Free State in the under/12 and winner of multiple medals (gold, silver and bronze) both provincial and nationally, Simeon certainly possesses special natural ability. It is noteworthy to mention that he possesses a special talent and can be a future career, and that he can achieve even more in the future.
1st place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Bloemnuus
Marnus van der Walt (14)
Marnus van der Walt (14), a grade 8 pupil from Jim Fouché High School, has been chosen as the SuperSport Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Bloemnews.
Marnus won at the Free State Badminton Regionals in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles u/15 division. Thereafter he took part at the South African u/15 Open and Inter-Provincials Championships. In the team division, the Free State Badminton u/15 A-Team won gold and Marnus was rated number 1 boy for the championship overall. In the open division, he won in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles for the u/15 division. He was also rated number 1 boy for 2017 u/15 overall.
At the South African Challengers Cup (the championship held for the winners of all the SA inter-Provincial Divisions – including the Senior, Veterans, and Golden Eagles teams.) The Challenger u/15 Team came second in the B-division. Marnus was rated the number 2 Men’s Player for this championship in the B division.
At the SA u/19 Open and Inter-Provincials Championships held in Cape Town, he was part of the Free State u/19 B-Team that won gold during the championship. He was rated number 2 boy for the championship in the B-division. During the open division boys singles, he went through to the quarterfinals (Top 8).
During the All Africa u/15 Continental Badminton Championships & Junior Internationals Marnus was chosen as the captain of the u/15 SA team and the SA team won bronze. In the open division Marnus won gold in the mixed doubles division and won bronze in the boys singles division.
Recently he took part in the South African u/17 Open and Inter-Provincial Championships. As part of the Free State u/17 B-team, he won bronze in the A-division at the championships. He was rated number 9 boy for the championship overall. During the open division, Marnus went through to the quarterfinals for the boys singles, mixed doubles and boys doubles. After this championship, the national junior selectors have highlighted Marnus as one of the possible candidates for the National Junior u/19 Squad.
2nd place – Let’s Play Sport Star of the Year for Bloemnuus
Jaedan Gouws (14)
Para-cycling record-breaker and gold medal winner Jaedan Gouws’s outstanding achievements go concurrently with his motto “It’s not why – but why not”, demonstrating that there is no obstacle or challenge that can bar a person from achieving success and coming out number one.