It was an evening of celebrations and emotions when the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture rewarded the province’s top performing athletes, administrators, federations, recreation bodies, school teams and the media for going the extra mile in promoting various sporting codes during the Limpopo Sport Awards held at Meropa Casino and Entertainment World on Friday.
Although some of the recipients could not make it to the venue, their accolades and cash prizes were received by family members who could not hide their excitement and pride on stage. The winners of the 2019 Limpopo Sport Awards received trophies and cash prizes ranging from R20 000 to R50 000.
The winners are: Dovhani Nengovhela (Photographer of the Year), Sello Koos Matsaung (Sportsman of the Year with Disability), Dinare softball team (Team of the Year), Milton Kekana (Sportsman of the Year), Mokgadi Mswazi (Volunteer of the Year), Lenize Potgieter (Sportswoman of the Year), Cecilia Molekwane (Sport Administrator of the Year), Nyiko Sithole (Journalist of the Year), Prudence Sekgodiso (Newcomer of the Year), Malose Kekana (Coach of the Year), Matladi Project High School (School Team of the Year), Tups Sport Royal Action Programme (Recreation Body of the Year) and Limpopo Softball Association (Best Association of the Year).
Sport, Arts and Culture MEC Thandi Moraka also spiced up the evening by handing over awards to 13 individuals and three sport clubs who continue to fly the provincial flag high on both national and international stages in different sporting codes. The winners received an award and cash prizes worth R20 000 each.
MEC’s Special Awards: Lebogang Ramalepe (female football), Milton Kekana (athletics), Dinare Softball Team, Noko Matlou (female football), Moshikaro Moagi (Baroka Football Club number one supporter), Kgothatso Montjane (wheelchair tennis), Vakhegula-Vakhegula (grannies soccer), Ally Pole (President of SA Handball Federation), Sipho Mathobuko (softball international umpire), Ronnie Mohlabi (Chairperson for SA Sports Association for the Intellectually Impaired), Lenize Potgieter (netball), Caster Semenya (athetics), Khanyisa Chawane (netball), Baroka Football Club (Premier Soccer League), Ria Ledwaba (SA Football Association Vice-President) and Cecilia Molokwane (Netball SA President).
When addressing attendees, Moraka started off by applauding Limpopo residents for distancing themselves from the recent reported xenophobic attacks that occurred in some parts of the country. She said residents in the province conducted themselves in a different and most impressive manner by not engaging in such gruesome acts. She reiterated that Limpopo was welcoming but cautioned that foreign nationals who are in the country illegally should not that they are not doing justice to the communities and added that the full might of the law will deal with them.
Moraka further stressed that a lack of the provincial high performance centre was still disadvantaging athletes in Limpopo but appreciated sports-persons for using whatever resources available to them to perform to the best of their abilities. She added that the department cannot depend on conditional grant alone to promote sport in the province. Moraka went on to say it was high time that the department acquire funds to build provincial high performance centre to prepare athletes for national and international competitions.
“Sport teaches discipline both on and off the field and it also promote healthy living. We need to take school sport seriously to develop children into best athletes. Sport can also be used to earn a decent living both as an athlete or administrator hence I encourage youth to participate in various sporting codes,” Moraka explained and concluded by congratulating all the award winners and urging them to continue making Limpopo and South Africa proud.
Story and photos: ENDY SENYATSI