The 2012 SPAR gsport Awards has been hailed a resounding success.
Hosted by popular television presenter Leanne Manas, the event honoured among others, Olympic, Paralympic and Up and Coming athletes, and provided a platform for a stirring speech from inaugural gsport Hall of Famer, international swimming icon Penny Heyns.
“It was unbelievable. Everything was incredibly smart and was of a very high quality. Penny was an amazing guest speaker. The SPAR gsport Awards really set a high standard this year and I can’t wait to see how they will be next year,” SPAR Sponsorship Manager Belinda Nel says.
The day’s proceedings kicked off with gsport founder Kass Naidoo welcoming the almost 200 guests at the prestigious Wanderers Club. The energy in the room was electric as the best athletes in the country, past and present, including Caster Semenya, Bridgitte Hartley, Natalie du Toit, Rene Kalmer, Ilse Hayes and Elana Meyer to name a few, mingled with excited guests.
Winners, including Semenya, du Toit, Thato Makhafola, Anela Mahamba, Lalla Hirayama, Elize Kotze and Tarryn Steenekamp delighted guests with their speeches.
“You always think that the quality of an event is in the venue, the food or the goodie bag, but it’s in the quality of the nominees. It was great to see all of them, especially in an Olympic year doing so well,” says SPAR gsport Awards Ambassador Anele Mdoda.
“It was a really amazing day. I think the essence of what gsport is about was communicated well. Sometimes when you go to an award ceremony you get a shallow vibe, and this wasn’t like that at all. The people who deserved the attention got the attention,” said fellow Ambassador Roxy Burger.
What impressed 2011 Style Star winner and Ambassador Shashi Naidoo was seeing how gsport has grown since 2006: “I have been here since the beginning, and it’s been amazing to see the awards grow. They have come really far, and the possibilities for this initiative are infinite. The award ceremony itself was beautifully organised.”
The prospect of seeing the initiative grow is what impressed Naidoo’s fellow ambassadors Mpho Maboi and Liezel van der Westhuizen. “It was a nice surprising crop of nominees and winners. The standard has gone up from last year, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next year,” Maboi says.
“Every year the awards get bigger and better. The awards ceremony, the MC and everything was amazing,” added van der Westhuizen.
Former child presenter, rising corporate star and Ambassador Hulisani Ravele was struck by the quality of the nominees and the winners. “There were some surprise categories but I really think these ladies are the best at what they’re doing. Thank you to everyone that voted, because the people chose the winners and they were top class.”
World leader in Visual Performance and 2012 SPAR gsport Awards judge Dr. Sherylle Calder said: “It’s getting better every year. The people who won the awards were stunning. The organisation is brilliant. “
“The winners all deserve it. Some of them are young inspirational women, and some of them are older but they are all inspirational in their own way,” businesswoman and Style Star judge Uyanda Mbuli says.
The food prepared by the Silvasale staff at the Wanderers Club was a hit with guests. The menu included strawberry skewers with a rose infused lime curd, mini home baked mixed berry muffins with butter, cream and jam and mini cheese muffins upon arrival.
Immediately after the awards, guests were treated to mouth-watering treats, including Mini Yorkshire pudding stuffed with rare roast beef and pink pepper corns, smoked salmon and minted pea crostini, and haloumi and beetroot humus crostini.
There were also hot mini bowls of butter chicken on basmati rice served with sambals and crispy poppadum, Thai chicken spring roll on spicy pickled cabbage salad or fresh vegetable stir-fry with exotic mushrooms and crunchy sprouts for lunch.
Dessert was a selection of pink and white sparkle candy floss, gsport theme red velvet cupcakes, funky cake pops, mini fresh fruit tartlets and mini chocolate tartlets.
“We had great feedback about the food,” says Sales & Marketing for SilvaSale Events Ricky Regenstein. “Comments ranged from, ‘We are in awe of the food and presentation’, ‘The food flavour and presentation was excellent’, and ‘The food is amazing…feed me I don’t care about carbs.”
The SPAR gsport Awards was supported by Worldwide Sports, SuperSport, HRG Rennies Travel, Big Five Duty Free, Tip Top Nails, Monster Production and Events, and the Wanderers Club.
“We are grateful for the support of SPAR and our fantastic partners which allowed us to honour our women athletes in style,” said Naidoo.
“From the world-class branding from Worldwide Sports, to the outstanding AV from SuperSport, top-class travel from HRG Rennie Travel, luxury gifting from Big Five Duty Free and Tip Top Nails, and the incredible service from Monster Production and Events, and the Wanderers Club, we couldn’t have asked for better partners.”
#SPARgsportAwards and @gsport4girls were trending topics in Johannesburg and South Africa on Tuesday and below are some of the best tweets from our guests.
Mpho Maboi @MphoMaboi
Loving being at the #SPARgsportAwards. Beautiful women all in 1 room. Amazing… Bout to start now… Good luck to all nominees
Natasha Zoe Marot @TashZoe
@gsport4girls & #SPAR have gone all out 4the #SPARgsportAwards. Venue looks lovely, complimented by all the beautiful ladies milling around
Bridgitte Hartley @for_bridgitte
It’s exciting to be at the #SPARgsportawards today with @Vanesdutoit
Clare Vale @clarevale
@Nadia__Singh @gsport4girls always an awesome event! So looking forward to it 🙂 #SPARgsportAwards
Anele Mdoda @Anele
Penny Heyns guest speaker #spargsportawards
Leanne Manas @LeanneManas
Thank you! RT @bruceybld: #SPARgsportawards host & new mom @LeanneManas was the perfect MC yesterday! @gsport4girls
Penny Heyns @pennyheyns
@gsport4girls thanks Kass! Was an honour to speak at a most superb #2012SPARgsportAwards today. Well done & may it continue to grow further
Jodene Shaer @Jodenecoza
A proudly SA morning at the @Gsport4Girls Awards – #projectme post 897 http://jodene.co.za/projectme/a-proudly-sa-morning-at-the-gsport4girls-awards-project-me-post-897/ … mentions: @KassNaidoo @DaleHerbst @PennyHeyns
Tip Top Nails @TipTopNailsSA
Thanks to @gsport4girls for an awesome function today!
Well done @gsport4girls & #Spar for honouring women In/around sport In such an elegant manner this a.m. #SPARgsportAwards @kassnaidoo
Vanes-Mari du Toit @Vanesdutoit
@for_bridgitte & I bonding while getting our make up fixed at #SPARgsportawrds. Love it!! @esteelauder @gsport4girls
Kate Nokwe@ This_Kate
Great job @KassNaidoo, @DaleHerbst and rest of the @gsport4girls team. You did incredibly! #SPARgsportAwards
Elana Meyer @elanameyer
great to see our running queen @ReneKalmer in red and high heels at the @gsport4girls! #SPARgsportAwards
Letshego Moshoeu @letshegom
Congrats to @KassNaidoo & her @gsport4girls team for putting on an amazing #SpargsportAwards function. ☺
Natalie Le Clue @nlc27
Congratulations to all @gsport4girls award winners! 🙂
Gina Myers @gi_myers
Shooo but the food here. Aaaand the cupcakes. Wooowzers. @gsport4girls http://lockerz.com/s/262880476
Nicole da Silva @ThatNicole
Lovely awards ceremony. Not long winded. Not poncy. Great initiative from the @gsport4girls #SPARgsportsawards
Lizette Khan @Lizzy_Khan
Busy morning for a women in sport, @gsport4girls #SPARgsportAwards and now back on air for @Radio2000_Sport @2000FMSA on The Experience
Melissa Reddy @1stLadyOfFooty
Another @gsport4girls ceremony which leaves me SO proud of the women in all areas of sport in South Africa. We’re blessed. #SPARgsportAwards
Thembi Mntambo @Themstar
Viva Women in Mzansi Sport! Baby steps. With passion, hard work, goals n plans, Support. We getting there @gsport4girls #SPARgsportAwards
Jennifer Su (Jen Su) @jennifer_su
Congrats to the @gsport4girls #SPARgsportAwards ambassadors @Anele @liezelv @roxyburger @SHASHINAIDOO! 200k votes pic.twitter.com/ufuMEfpV
Ashraf Garda @ashrafgarda1
Every person gets a Tip Top nail hamper #SPARgsportAwards @gsport4girls – This feels like an @Oprah feel good event
Leko Nkabinde @NkabN
@gsport4girls thank you Spar you’ve grabbed my shopping interest for your involvement in sport development
Natalie Germanos @NatalieGermanos
Caster Semenya sends out a warning to Thato Makhafola (young 800m runner) to not beat her in future! CLASSIC @gsport4girls #SPARgsportAwards
Lalla Hirayama @Lalla_Hirayama
Thank you for all the votes!!! #SPARgsportsAwards @gsport4girls Winning Style Star of the year!wow!I am humbled!♥!♥!♥!
Martin Cito Otto @Cito1974
Powerfully inspiring speech by #PennyHeins #2012SPARgSportAwards @gsport4girls
Collett Dawson @collettdawson
@pennyheyns has just given one of the most inspirational addresses I’ve ever heard! All power to you Penny! #SPARgsportAwards @gsport4girls
Memories of Penny Heynes beating off Aussie Sam Riley and Amanda Beard flooding back during Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games @gsport4girls. – A
At the @gsport4girls Awards SPARgsportAwards☺ Well done @KassNaidoo & team♥/ It gets better each year as @LeanneManas said #soproud!
Lerato Gumbi @watile
Wow, I’m writing down my goals and plans TODAY! Thank you Penny Heyns thank you @gsport4girls #SPARgsportawards
Janine Van Wyk@Janinevanwyk5
@gsport4girls Its a great honour to be sitting amongst great female sport athletes #SPARgsportAwards
Hulisani Ravele @Hulisani_R
SPAR Group Executive thanks @gsport4girls for the opportunity to be involved. The synergy between the two runs deep. #SPARgsportAwards
SAfm PM Live @safmpmlive
@gsport4girls paying homage to the 2012 sports stars #SPARgsportAwards
Lions Rugby Union @LionsRugbyUnion
Congratulations to our new media manager @tarryn_rugby who won the @gsport4girls Woman in Media Award
Lunga Ntuli @lungantuli
@gsport4girls. Just saw the Spar gsport Awards in the SABC 1 news. Wow” #GoGirls
SPAR Eastern Cape @SPAR_EC
Congrats to SPAR Proteas Coach Elize Kotze for winning the Coach of the Year award at the SPAR @gsport4girls awards! #spargsportawards