Ten of the Best Freedom In Sport Stars

As we approach #FreedomDay, we celebrate 10 Freedom in Sport Stars who have achieved incredible sporting highs and inspired a nation to believe in the power of their dreams. #gsportTop10.

South Africa commemorates Freedom Day on 27 April and to mark this day, we are focusing our latest gsport Top 10 List on the stars that have flown the flag and achieved key milestones that allow the current generation of women’s sport stars to thrive and succeed.

This week’s #gsportTop10 List includes Ashleigh Buhai, who turned professional in 2007 and changed the face of women’s golf in South Africa to double Olympic champion, Caster Semenya, who continues to fight to ensure the next generation is not discriminated against and global swimming icon, Penny Heyns, who continues to play her part to change the game.

Champion para sport trio KG Montjane, Natalie du Toit and Zanale Situ, feature prominently on the list for flying the South African flag high and inspiring the nation to believe in its own abilities.

The gsport Top 10 Lists were introduced last November to enhance our efforts to recognize and acknowledge outstanding individuals who are contributing to the growth of women’s sport at all levels.

 

Click here to watch the Video, Scroll Down to read about these Stars

 

Ashleigh Buhai 

Ashleigh Buhai is South Africa’s top ranked women’s golfer. She turned professional day after her 18th birthday in 2007 and won the Catalonia Ladies Masters on her third event as a pro. Over a month after turning professional, she became the youngest professional winner on the Ladies European Tour. These game changing moves by Ashleigh put the spotlight firmly on SA women’s golf and ensured its profile was raised.

 

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio 

Multiple award winning cyclist Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio is one of the pioneers of South African cycling and a passionate advocate for women’s cycling. Ashleigh lives mostly abroad and races among some of the strongest competitors in the world. She made her Olympic debut in 2012, finishing 16th before going on to win Commonwealth Games Bronze in 2014. During Covid-19, she reignited her career by embracing virtual cycling and going on to become the first ever UCI e-cycling champion.

 

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya is a celebrated athlete who continues to fight for the next generation to play sport without discrimination. Her journey has inspired many to chase after their own dreams in democratic South Africa. The double Olympic gold medallist recently reclaimed the 5000m SA title and looks to be in top condition although her dream is to be able to run free in her favourite race, the 800m event. Caster is blooding the next generation of runners through her Masai Athletics Club and works with leading organisations to stand up for women’s rights.

 

Desiree Ellis 

Desiree Ellis is an award winning coach who has walked a long, hard journey in football. From player to coach and football administrator, she has found ways to make her mark and change the game. Desiree led the team to the FIFA World Cup in 2019 and inspired Banyana Banyana to their fourth consecutive COSAFA Cup title. This football legend will go down as one of the most influential women in the beautiful game.

 

Kgothatso Montjane 

Kgothatso Montjane is one of South Africa’s most successful tennis players. She has made history, both at Wimbledon and the French Open, and with more partners coming on board, looks set to reach greater heights. Kgothatso is the most celebrated athlete on the Momentum gsport Awards stage and is the face of wheelchair tennis in the country.

 

Natalie du Toit 

Natalie du Toit is a one of most celebrated Paralympians in the world. In 2001 at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, after breaking records swimming the multi-disability events, Natalie made history when she qualified to swim in the 800m able-bodied final. In 2004, she won five gold medals and a silver medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games. This iconic athlete is widely credited with bridging the gap between abled and disabled swimming through her courageous feats.

 

Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe 

Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe was the first ever captain of the Springbok women’s rugby team. This inspirational leader captained at a time when women’s rugby was hardly recognised but her family’s rich sporting history held her up as she fought for her team and played her part in pioneering early change. It is largely because of efforts from individuals like Nomsebenzi that the Springbok women’s rugby team is on an upward trajectory.

 

Penny Heyns

Penny Heyns is arguably South Africa’s greatest Olympian and the most successful sportswoman this country has produced. Penny led the way with an inspirational double gold effort at the 1996 Olympic Games which laid the foundation for a successful swimming career. In retirement, the inaugural gsport Hall of Fame winner continues to inspire the next generation and change the game.

 

Shabnim Ismail 

Shabnim Ismail is one of the longest serving members of the Momentum Proteas cricket team. Late last year, after many years of highs with the national team, she went on to win the Player of the Final in the WBBL – the first overseas player (male or female) to win this accolade. Her dream is to win a World Cup for South Africa and continues to make global headlines along the way.

 

Zanele Situ

Zanele Situ is one of South Africa’s most successful Paralympians. She took up athletics in 1985 and turned professional three years later. At the Sydney Games in 2000, she became the first black South African woman to win a Paralympic gold medal. She continues to compete at the highest level 21 years later and is determined to keep inspiring South Africans to never give up.

 

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gsport Newsroom

Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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