The 2013 SPAR gsport Awards was held at the prestigious Wanderers Club, in Illovo, Johannesburg on Wednesday 20 November, and once again the online initiative aimed at promoting SA women in sport held the nation enthralled, as the count-down to the unveiling of the annual winners got underway.
That South Africa’s only annual Awards to commemorate the nation’s women in sport was held in such distinguished style, is due in large part to the Naming Rights Partner of the gsport Awards, the SPAR Group Ltd, which stood up prominently in support of gsport for the second year running.
“I would like to thank SPAR for their prestigious support,” said Kgothatso Montjane, gsport Athlete of the Year with Disability. “It’s few that support women in sport, but with SPAR, they have been the greatest in the country.”
“Keep doing what you doing for women in this country,” agreed Dikeledi Makhongoana, gsport Woman in Media winner. “Your contribution in this ceremony will always mean a lot to women in sport.
“Thank you so much SPAR for the Voucher, as I will be enjoying my shopping at your store soon! Lets hold hands and keep doing what’s right for women who cannot do it for themselves. Thank you very much!”
“To SPAR, I have to say thank you for recognising our passion,” said Dominique Philippopoulos, gsport Coach of the Year, “And in this process, motivating us to remain focused and passionate about achieving in our specific categories.
“Being part of a community that realises your potential makes the hard work and sacrifices all worth-while. I really have no better words to express my heartfelt thanks, but will continue to coach to the best of my ability, knowing that my efforts are being recognised. Christmas is going to be extra special this year.”
“SPAR have recognised the efforts made by gsport to profile women athletes, administrators, volunteers, media and stars in the country,” said SPAR Sponsorship Manager, Belinda Nel, acknowledging the wide praise of the group’s substantial contribution.
“With SPAR being so involved in women’s sport, it made complete sense to partner with the gsport awards, as SPAR would like to recognise the contribution made by women within the sporting society, which falls very much in line with government policy.
Launched in South Africa 50 years ago, when the demographics of the average SA shopper was predominantly female, the leading local food and beverage retailer didn’t waste time in identifying its first sponsorship venture: Road Running.
Aimed at including women of all shapes, sizes and walks of life, through a healthy lifestyle race, not the mention the entertainment and social focus which are a staple of the races across the country, the successful SPAR Women’s Challenge series launched throughout SA.
And such was the positive response that SPAR sought to expand their sponsorship to tennis, hockey, bowls and ultimately netball.
“SPAR are excited at the progress and success of the SPAR Proteas, and Netball South Africa,” continued Nel. “There have been major strides since launching the sponsorship 13 years ago, and this is attributed to a solid and sound partnership between Netball South Africa, SPAR, the players and stakeholders.
The food and beverage giant has also seen remarkable success in the SPAR Grand Prix series. “The SPAR Grand Prix was launched to give the SPAR Women’s Challenge greater media interest, and to reward the top female athletes participating in the Challenge series,” Nel said.
“The Grand Prix has become a strong individual brand in athletics circles. It is popular amongst the top runners and athletics clubs, and what is more exciting is that the true potential of the SPAR Grand Prix is still to be reached! So much is planned and the future is bright.
“There is no doubt that the SPAR Grand Prix has increased the profile of the Women’s Challenge races, nationally and in each of the cities around SA, in Cape Town, PE, Durban, Pretoria and Joburg.
It all comes down to SPAR’s reason for supporting SA women in sport: “Women play a critical and vital role in society, especially in South Africa,” Nel points out.
“For too many years, the rights and importance of women have not been given their deserved credit, and SPAR applauds our new government, for recognising the important role that women play in the country.
“SPAR would like to see women sport stars and women’s sports teams eventually share the same platform of publicity, recognition and financial reward as their male counterparts.
“This will only be achieved if the aims and objectives of all stakeholders remain the same and if the administration of women’s sports receives the backing from government, stakeholders and sponsors similar to that of men’s sport,” continued Nel. “So that the administrators can get to the same professional level as successful sporting bodies across the world.”
Main photo caption: Mike Prentice, Group Marketing Executive of SPAR Group Ltd, smiles as the 2013 SPAR gsport Athlete of the Year, Mapaseka Makhanya, acknowledges the audience’s applause on her being unveiled as the recipient of the sought-after annual prize, at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, 20 November, 2013. The impressive athlete beat off stern competition in international surfer Bianca Buitendag and Kirsten McCann to win at the 2013 SPAR gsport Awards. Photo: Rebecca Hearfield / gsport