2012 SPAR gsport Awards Voting Opens

by | Nov 7, 2012

SA women's hockey striker Pietie Coetzee, receives the 2011 gsport gSTAR Award from the initiative’s 2009 gsport Hall of Famer, Desiree Ellis, at the 2011 gsport Awards at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg, on Monday, 1 August. Online voting has opened at the gsport website to decide which of Olympic rower Bridgitte Hartley, SA's most capped athlete, hockey star Marsha Marescia, or Olympic 800m star, Caster Semenya, will walk away with the 2012 accolade. Photo: Reg Caldecott/gsport4girls

Online voting has opened for the SPAR gsport Awards, as the search continues for the big women’s sport winners of 2012.

Fans can cast their votes on the gsport website from Wednesday, 7 November 2012 till 12 noon on Saturday, 17 November 2012.

With over 100 quality nominees received across all categories, the judges, Jane Bramley, Uyanda Mbuli, Dr. Sherylle Calder and Hazel Gumede, had their work cut out, as they narrowed down the list to three nominees per category.

“I believe all the people chosen are world-class in their respective fields,” says Visual Performance guru Dr. Calder, who judged the Coach of the Year and SPAR Athlete of the Year categories.

Veteran sports journalist Bramley had arguably the toughest task in judging the Women in Media and Athlete of the Year with Disability categories.

Our disabled athletes had a fantastic year, doing very well at the Paralympics, and the Women in Media category had 12 strong candidates.

“It has been another amazing year for Natalie, even though she admitted that she was not feeling at her best at the London Paralympics,” said Bramley.

“Natalie is justifiably one of the most popular and most admired young people in South Africa, and it was evident from the way commentators talked about her at the Paralympics that she is highly respected around the world,” she continued.

“KG Montjane has done much to put wheelchair tennis on the map in South Africa. Considering she only started playing seven years ago, to have qualified for the Masters tournament is a superb achievement. I have chosen Ilse as my third finalist because I just loved watching her at the Paralympics.

“She is another athlete who has put disabled sport on the map. She might not be as famous as Natalie, but she deserves to be. Her celebrations when she won made me cry, not because she was disabled, but because I was so proud of her,” Bramley adds.

Radio cricket commentator Natalie Germanos, football anchor Carol Tshabalala and rugby writer Tarryn Steenekamp are nominated in the Women in Media category and Bramley says they’ve all gained respect in a male dominated field.

“Natalie has established herself as one of the best commentators in the SABC radio and TV cricket commentary units. She has earned the respect of top international commentators for her incisive opinions. She is also versatile, and has been able to commentate and report on a variety of sports, particularly tennis and netball.

“It is never easy for a woman to establish herself in an aggressively male-dominated milieu like rugby. For Tarryn to be appointed Media Manager for the Lions Rugby Union at a very troubled time in their history shows that she has obviously impressed with her knowledge and understanding of the game.”

“Carol is a role-model for many aspiring sports presenters. Her achievements have been impressive and she deserves the many accolades she has received. Carol has shown she has the ability to work consistently at a very high level,” Bramley says.

Woman of the Year is always the toughest category to judge and this year was no different for netball legend and gsport Hall of Famer Gumede. This year had some diverse and interesting candidates. Pole Fitness champion Venessa Clack will go up against cricket patron Sue Pather and double nominee Natalie du Toit for the award.

“Natalie was an obvious choice. I think Sue, at her age, will motivate other ladies, young and old to follow suit.

“When I first saw Venessa’s nomination I was very sceptical. I thought pole dancing … wrong sport! But after doing research on pole fitness, I thought we should raise awareness to end the misconception about the sport,” Gumede says.

Clack was as shocked with her nomination. “It’s unbelievable. People are now recognizing it as a sport. I want to use this platform to dispel all the misconceptions that people have about Pole Fitness,” Clack says.

Gumede was also responsible for the Up and Coming Athlete of the Year and Volunteer of the year categories. Teenagers Thato Makhafola, Lauren Varty and Tasnim Amra cracked the nod, and will be fighting it out for the Up and Coming Athlete of the year trophy.

Anela Mahamba, Anelda Swart and Faiek Cassiem impressed Gumede with their dedication to advancing women’s sport and will be competing in the Volunteer of the year category.

Businesswoman and socialite Mbuli, a former gsport Style Star winner herself, was responsible for choosing the top three most stylish women in the country and says consistency played a big role in her final decision. Top Billing presenter Jo-Ann Strauss, V Entertainment host Lalla Hirayama and award-winning R&B singer LeAnne Dlamini made Mbuli’s cut in the gsport Style Star gong.

“Jo-Ann has been a style icon for many years. She continued to be consistent in 2012. Her style is simple, yet classy and sophisticated. LeAnne dresses very well and is trendy in an unconventional way. She definitely deserves a spot in the top three. Lalla is the freshest new comer in the style category and arguably the best-dressed celebrity in 2012. Her style is fresh and can’t be faulted. She is a strong contender,” Mbuli says.

Beating strong competition to make the top three, Dlamini says the nomination came as somewhat of a surprise to her. “I am so super excited; I have never been nominated for something like this before.”

“The ladies I have been nominated with are so uniquely stylish. It’s an honour to be nominated with them. My style is very relaxed, simple and comfortable. The average girl on the street can relate to it,” she adds.

Voting closes at midday on 17 November. Winners will be announced at the 2012 SPAR gsport Awards on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at the Wanderers Club.

2012 SPAR gsport Awards Finalists:
SPAR Athlete of the Year
Bridgitte Hartley
Marsha Marescia
Caster Semenya
Athlete of the Year with Disability
Ilse Hayes (Carstens)
Natalie du Toit
Kgothatso Montjane
Up and Coming Athlete of the Year
Tasnim Amra
Thatho Makhafola
Lauren Varty
gsport Coach of the Year
Elize Kotze
Yashin Ebrahim-Hassen
Joseph Mkhonza
gsport Woman in Media
Natalie Germanos
Tarryn Steenekamp
Carol Tshabalala
gsport Style Star
LeAnne Dlamini
Lalla Hirayama
Jo-Ann Strauss
gsport Woman of the Year
Venessa Clack
Natalie du Toit
Sue Pather


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