SPAR gsport Awards a Success

The Ballroom at the Wanderers Club was elegantly decorated as the cream of women's sport descended on the prestigious venue to pay tribute to the biggest stars of 2012. Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott

The 2012 SPAR gsport Awards has been hailed a resounding success.

SPAR Athlete of the Year Caster Semenya was in top spirits as she walked away with her second major award in as many weeks. She is presented with her cut crystal trophy by SPAR Group Marketing Executive Mike Prentice. Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott 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.

2006 gsport Hall of Fame winner Penny Heyns was the guest speaker. She blew everyone away with her "Swim Your Own Race" speech which many guests described as "life changing". Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott

“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.

Junior 800m sensation Thato Makhafola was a big hit with the media. Seen here receiving her Up and Coming Athlete of the Year award from SuperSport's Tara Dobson. Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott “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.

Pole Fitness Champion Venessa Clack was the surprise winner in the gsport Woman of the Year category, beating off stiff competition from Paralympic Icon Natalie du Toit. Clack is seen here receiving her award from Big Five Duty Free's Helena Melis. Big Five Duty Free presented all winners with luxury hampers, including designer handbags, exclusive perfumes and sparkling wine. gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott

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.”

 Athlete of the Year with a Disability winner Natalie du Toit was warmly received as she was presented with her cut crystal trophy by Chris Schuitmaker from HRG Rennies Travel. Du Toit retired from swimming at the conclusion of the London Paralympic Games. Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott

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 SPAR gsport Awards judges Hazel Gumede, Jane Bramley, Dr. Sherylle Calder and Uyanda Mbuli with gsport4girls founder Kass Naidoo. The judges role was to ensure the cream rose to the top by choosing the top three contenders in each category. Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott

“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.

SPAR gsport Awards Ambassadors Shashi Naidoo, Liezel van der Westhuizen, Anele Mdoda, Mpho Maboi, Roxy Burger and Hulisani Ravele were lauded for their efforts in ensuring increased public participation in the nominations and voting process. Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott

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.

The Silvasale kitchen pulled out all the stops as they laid out a spread of note for guests, including an array of desserts, featuring delicious red velvet cupcakes. Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott

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.”

Each guest left with a gorgeous Tip Top Nails hamper courtesy Joan and Cheri Kahn which included the latest summer nail colours. Picture: gsport4girls/Reg Caldecott

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.”

All winners unveiled at the 2012 SPAR gsport Awards are asked to return to the stage once again (from left) Personal Account Writer Award winner, Chervon Chetty; 2012 SPAR Athlete of the Year winner, Caster Semenya; 2012 Style Star winner, Lalla Hirayama; inaugural SPAR Recognition Award recipient, Bruce Davidson; 2012 Coach of the Year, Elize Kotze; 2012 Woman of the Year winner, Venessa Clack; 2012 Up and Coming Athlete Award winner, Thato Makhafola; inaugural gsport Hall of Famer, Penny Heyns; 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award winner; Anela Mahamba; 2012 Woman in Media, Tarryn Steenekamp; 2012 Hall of Fame inductee; Muditambi Ravele;  2012 Athlete of the Year with a Disability, Natalie du Toit; 2012 Sponsor of the Year, SASOL representative Dumisani Mbokane, and Sports Federation of the Year winner, SA Hockey Association CEO, Marissa Langeni, pictured at the Wanderers Club, in Illovo, Johannesburg, on Tuesday, 20 November, 2012. Photo: (c) 2012 Reg Caldecott/gsport4girls (c) 2012 Reg Caldecott/gsport4girls

#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 … mentions: @KassNaidoo @DaleHerbst @PennyHeyns

Tip Top Nails‏ @TipTopNailsSA

Thanks to @gsport4girls for an awesome function today!

Patrick Baransky™‏@gr8sport

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

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

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

Uyanda Mbuli™‏@UyandaM

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


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