ATHLETES from across the province were recently recognized for their contributions to their respective sports at this year’s KZN Sports Awards.
Two of those athletes include Precious Mthembu, an educator from Danville Park Girls High School, who was named Sports Personality of the Year; and Danville Park Girls High School student Saskia Hockly, who won the Junior Athlete of the Year award with swimmer Matthew Sates.
For Mthembu, the award took on special significance as it was his first victory and his first nomination.
“So many people subsequently noticed that I must be used to winning awards all the time, but the truth is, I have never been nominated or won an award at the KZN Sports Awards,” Mthembu said with a laugh.
“It means a lot to me and shows that I am loved by people for my contribution to the sport of netball. I think that was the only category in the evening that was decided on the votes. I think I’ve touched people’s lives in every aspect of my netball career, and it’s a great feeling. I am also very proud of Saskia because I think she deserves to be recognized for her hard work. I hope our accomplishments inspire other Danville learners to aim high and believe in themselves, ”she said.
A few weeks later, Mthembu received the President’s special “Inkanyezi” award at the Netball KZN Awards.
As the head coach of the South African U19 netball team, she also recently led the team to a gold medal at the Region 5 Youth Games in Maseru, Lesotho,
For Hockly, 2021 has been a pivotal year for her in the sport of canoeing and surfskiing.
The Mount Moreland resident won bronze in the Junior Women’s K1 and Senior Women’s K2 (with Jenna Nisbet) race at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Pitesti, Romania.
Earlier this year, she was crowned Junior World Champion at the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships on the island of Lanzarote.
“Honestly, I didn’t even expect to be nominated. There is so much talent in the province and just being recognized by KZN sport is incredibly special. It’s also special to share the award with someone like Matthew Sates, who competed in the Olympics, broke world records and raced at the highest level possible. I think we were both shocked when our names were called out that evening.
“I remember looking at him from across the table and saying a collective ‘wow’. This is the first time the award has been shared in KZN Sports Awards history, which added another element to the incredible night. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this year, but I wouldn’t be anywhere without my family and those who support me. All of this is possible because of them and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without them, ”she said.
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