gsport … for Girls, a brand-new Internet-distributed Women in Sport initiative launched by Kass Naidoo, honoured South African Olympic heroine Penny Heyns at The Westcliff in Johannesburg yesterday morning.

Penny Heyns is commonly considered South Africa’s most illustrious woman athlete in recent memory, and gsport decided on Heyns as it’s inaugural Inductee to its annual Hall of Fame, in celebration of her significant achievements.

Heyns swept a rapt South Africa public along 10 years ago to became the first South African Olympic Gold Medallist in 44 years, when she competed in the 100m and 200m breaststroke finals in Atlanta, 1996, setting a new World Record in the 100m.

Those achievement were echoed three years later, when Heyns broke another 11 new world records in the space of 3 months.

Today Heyns presented a proud figure as she received her cut-crystal gsport Hall of Fame Award from Kass Naidoo, and her motivational qualities matched her encouragement to all South African women to realize their best potential.

“I think in our cultural circumstances and our histories of South Africa, a lot of black female athletes have not had the opportunity to express themselves through sport, said Heyns.

“I think that one of the biggest things we need to do through a campaign or project like this is to allow the young ladies to really unleash the potential trapped within them.

Recognising the significance of such an Award heralding Womens’ Month in August, SABC2 Morning Live’s Leanne Manas agreed that Heyns is the ideal candidate for the Award, “I can’t think of a better person than Penny to receive this first honour.”

She continued: “I think the launch of gsport is so important for the development of women’s sport in South Africa.”

Kass Naidoo was thrilled at the exposure the gsport website was receiving, “To launch an initiative geared to raising the profile of women in sport by championing a person of Penny’s calibre is an honour, but I didn’t think it was going to be this much fun!”

“Just because we aren’t all Olympic gold medal material, doesn’t mean we can’t be a part of an every-day success story. That’s what gsport aims to promote,” Naidoo said,  “The support of women in sport, by women.”

“We are proud to profile Penny in our lead feature on gsport.co.za for August, she is a tremendous inspiration for all South Africans,” said Naidoo.

 

Image caption: New Beginnings. The gathering at the launch of the gsport … for Girls! initiative, in the Sir Herbert Baker Suite at the Westcliff Hotel, on 1 August, 2006. Back row: Melinda Lombard, Zeena Isaacs and Nazli Thomas, (third row) Zelda van Vuuren, Cindy Grota, Marsha Marescia, Tinky Pringle, Karien Jonkheere, Liz Nicolau, (second row) Zai Khan, Hasina Kathrada, Siki Mgabadeli, Marjolein van der Stadt, Ruth Africa, (and front row) Leanne Manas, Kass Naidoo, Penny Heyns and Nothemba Madumo. Photo: gsport