Clinical Psychologist, Dr Koketjo Tsebe, SASCA’s Desiree Vardhan and Cricket heroine, Susie Pather, vie for the Special Recognition title at the 2021 Momentum gsport Awards.
The Special Recognition award honours and pays homage to a woman who passionately supports sport causes close to their hearts and communities. These women are the pillars of the sporting industry ensuring that women are given the recognition and support they deserve.
Dr. Koketjo Tsebe is passionate about prioritizing mental health in sports. Named as one of the 200 Young South Africans making an impact in the country by the Mail and Guardian, Tsebe has a Ph.D. in Psychology, which she utilizes in her work of ensuring that athletes and women in sport have a healthy mental wellness.
Dr Tsebe extends herself beyond her practice and has taken on responsibilities of being a module leader/ lecturer and researcher in sport psychology at University of South Africa. She also enjoys taking on Masters students who are pursuing research in sport and supervising them to contribute to their success.
“I feel so thrilled and honoured to be a finalist for the Special Recognition award at the Momentum gsport Awards. I am humbled that my work in sport psychology is receiving such recognition. We live in uncertain times so having had request to render services of sports psychology and being offered opportunities and platforms to promote mental health in the sporting fraternity. I have great respect not only for the women in my category but for every single woman whose name appears on the list of finalists for this year’s awards. We have had a tough year due to the pandemic and we really deserve an opportunity to celebrate the resilience we have shown in the past year. I applaud and take my hat off to Momentum and gsport for the large contribution they put into the growth of women in sports in South Africa. I mean they promote, profile and award women in sport.”
Desiree Vardhan is a former player turned administrator who has excelled and done tremendous work in both disciplines. She worked at the Oprah Winfrey School for girls before joining SASCOC as a manager of the coaching department. Currently head of operation at the South African Sports Coaching Association, Vardhan is a woman who has fought adversity and continues to stand up for gender equality in sport. This is what she said about being a #gsport16 finalist:
“Oh what an honour, I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude for this great news. We do the work we do not necessarily for applause but it feels good to receive news that I am counted amongst some of the South African women whose work is making a difference. I am a huge fan of women in sport, they have unity and work ethic that is pleasing and makes me proud. They have a fierce nature that sees them rise higher and higher despite the many obstacles that they encounter in their line of work.
“We have had such a tough year as the world finds new ways to cope while navigating the new normal of a global pandemic, but our athletes continued to make us proud by defying the odds and making international news with their brilliant sportswomanship. I am so proud of all the women in sports on the list of finalists for the awards, I have encountered so many of them and their work and to see them celebrated on a platform like this is heart warming. The Momentum gsport Awards is such a remarkable platform and the work they do really inspires us to want to reach for the stars, they encourage and cheer for our work and we really appreciate them and all the brands that come on board to make this happen.”
A third finalist in this category is none other than Susie Pather. At 80, Pather still plays cricket with girls under 18 as a wicketkeeper, she provides free cricket coaching, and is the first woman umpire in KwaZulu-Natal since 2013. Her advocacy work saw her start a cricket team to empower disadvantaged youth from townships. She was also captain and coach for the Collegian Women’s Cricket Team.
Pather is pleased to be named amongst such a caliber of special women who do amazing work in sport: “I am indeed humbled to be a finalist at the age of 80 for being a cricket umpire, player, coach, wicket keeper and scorer. Since 2003, I have been dedicated to assisting and empowering disadvantaged young women and ensuring that the game of cricket is accessible to them. I have had some great milestones in my life and career as a businesswoman, an advocate, and as a South African ambassador for good, but what will forever be memorable for me are the smiles I see of the young women I play cricket with every time they reach a milestone in their cricket journeys. The work I do in cricket surpasses all the things I have achieved in my 80 years. Thank you to the Momentum gsport Awards for recognizing my work and that of other amazing women who go far in their lives to make sure they change other women’s lives through sport, I am so so honoured to be recognized.”