Chiedza Mzembe and Yane van der Merwe were among the shining female athletes at this year’s Johannesburg Women in Sports Awards. Van der Merwe won the Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability Award, while Mzembe received a finalist certificate in the Sportswoman of the Year Award category on Thursday, 7 October 2021.
The awards, organised by the Futballing Girls Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), celebrated sportswomen who had outstanding performances in the 2021 sports performance cycle. Winning the award means van der Merwe will automatically be a nominee in the upcoming 2021 Gauteng Sports Awards.
“I feel proud that my achievements are being recognised. I believe it will inspire young and upcoming female athletes. This award is an acknowledgement of all the hard work and the time I have put into what I love, which is sport. It will further boost my confidence. I am grateful for winning the award,” says van der Merwe, a para-athlete in the UJ Sports for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Club.
Van der Merwe is a final-year Sports Development student at UJ. The javelin, shot put and discus thrower is also a nominee in the upcoming 2021 UJ Sports Awards, which will take place on 11 November 2021.
Mzembe is a UJ women’s cricket team captain. For her, being a finalist in the Johannesburg Women in Sports Awards is proof that the time and dedication that she has invested in cricket was worthwhile.
“I’m absolutely super stoked and it’s a great honor to be a finalist. This has brought fond memories on where and how I have started playing cricket. Being acknowledged is extremely special because I’ve learned to improve myself through competing with talented players and that can be a tough thing to do,” says Mzembe.
Mzembe is a first-year Sports Management student, but already a captain of the UJ women’s cricket team. She cites hard work and determination as a balancing act to excelling in academics and being a good performing athlete on the field.