Winning the 2021 Momentum gsport Awards Supporter of the Year accolade has inspired Andries Kruger to amplify his coverage of women’s sport in South Africa.
Kruger reveals that the #gsport16 event was a night of royalty as he received recognition for his positive impact in supporting women’s sport, especially his daughter, Simoné, who is a shot put and discus para-athlete.
Receiving recognition has been a pat on the back for Kruger as he has earned support and praise from those closest to him.
As a coach for the Pierre Blignaut Shot Put and Discus Academy, Kruger’s greatest wish for women’s sport is to see girls being afforded the opportunity to get into the game from a young age.
Speaking with Nonto Nothana, Kruger reveals the importance of supporting women’s sport and the impact of the gsport initiative.
Andries, thank you for talking to gsport, what has it been like since you won on the Momentum gsport Awards stage?
Hi to all the wonderful gsport staff, continuing to improve the image of sport and specific girls’ sport. This is always so enlightening and encouraging to see dedication and hard work in any environment.
I had an overwhelming response to me receiving this award as Supporter of the Year. The timing of the award coincided with the Paralympics in Tokyo and the focus was on the highest sports event in human history. My award is exactly what the games presents. Both supporting the athlete as well as promoting women’s sport through photography. Thus, so many WhatsApp groups, Instagram accounts and Facebook pages congratulated me on this award. The Pierre Blignaut Shot Put and Discus Academy congratulated me with huge celebrations on social media.
How has your family and friends reacted to your #gsport16 victory?
This was a huge surprise to family and friends due to it being a secret event and they constantly wanted to know if I had received any news. I was so overwhelmed with their positive reactions and so blessed as they indicated that it was a well-deserved award due to the dedication I have for women athletes as well as supporting them with my amateur photography. The athlete community was so blown away because I am assisting them enormously in their own marketing campaigns. They also felt that it was well deserved.
Describe your experience of being recognised on the gsport stage and attending the VIP event.
This was my first recognition on such a big stage. Thus, the whole experience was such an honour as well as enjoyable. The VIP evening itself was an evening I will always remember. We were treated to such an exciting but still glamorous evening. From the red-carpet, to the stage, to all the wonderful photo and interview sessions, we were treated as royalty.
The recognition on the stage with the beautiful trophy was very special. It felt prestigious to be recognised with such an inspirational group of winners.
To receive the award from Chrystal Arnold could also not go unmentioned as she has been up there for so many years in the sporting community. Thanks, Crystal, for all the encouraging words, you are a great inspiration.
What has the recognition taught you?
I think firstly that your hard work does not go unnoticed, as someone must have nominated you and appreciated your hard work to be mentioned on such a big stage.
Yes, many times you don’t realise that your small contribution adds to a community and the huge difference it makes. Yes, you don’t always get the “Thank You’s”, but being recognized did exactly that.
Then I must say that it motivates you to continue with more fire than ever before.
To me it also makes you humble in appreciation.
Why is it important to show our support for women’s sport?
When my kids were still very small, I had the opportunity to attend their sport clinics. I then realised that I quickly had to make a mind shift that my life will be full of girl sport. The moment I made that decision it became very easy for me and then it became fun and after that a lifestyle. Still today it is just second nature to support women’s sport and I would give so much of my time and effort to improve women’s sport. Today this is so natural to me that I don’t even think about it. The investment thus comes naturally.
How do you show your support for women’s sport?
This comes two-fold. Firstly, I love and enjoy coaching, which is the direct interaction with people, and I love people. Coaching gives you the opportunity to create a champion, as every person is a champion in their own right. The change that takes place in front of you brings so much enjoyment and satisfaction. I totally believe in the coaching techniques that the Pierre Blignaut Academy teaches us, so much that I believe if you trust the process, you will become very good.
Secondly, I support women’s sport with my still camera photography. This has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I seek to improve these digital images to top class professional level which improves and markets women’s sport in general. The moment athletes use these photographs the word of all the talented girl and women sport individuals or teams goes out on social media. This brings me so much satisfaction that I constantly seek for improvement.
Since your win, are you now inspired to do more to play your part for women’s sport?
It totally inspires me to even go further than what I have already achieved. Once it’s a passion you constantly want to grow and now even more.
What are your thoughts on gsport and the role the initiative plays in women’s sport?
As I am an avid women’s Para Athletic supporter, I so appreciate organisations like gsport that aim to improve women’s sport. In the last few years, Women’s Para Athletics at the Paralympic Games increased, and this means support from so many people and organisations is needed to achieve this remarkable feat. I want to thank gsport for their amazing contribution towards women’s sport.
How can the public show their support for women’s sport?
I personally feel the biggest support in future will come from healthy supporting moms and dads supporting their wonderful girls from a very small age. This creates an environment where healthy women athletes would for years continue to participate. It will quickly become a generational interest, and this will support a healthy lifestyle for all girls and women.
What is your greatest wish for women’s sport?
If you look at the extremely low percentage of women participating in sport, I would love to see more sports people participating on all levels of sport. I love athletics but this sometimes becomes a very lonely sport. That is why I really support team sports as it improves relationship and communication and at the end it also becomes a good lifestyle. School children being involved in sport have ample opportunity to continue sport after school, but it must perhaps start when you are young.
Photo 1 Caption: 2021 Momentum gsport Awards Supporter of the Year winner, Andries Kruger, pictured at the ceremony at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 31 August 2021. Photo: gsport