Student-athletes and the Sports for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Club of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) won big at the Johannesburg Women in Sport Awards on Saturday, 26 February 2022. The club won the Sport Team of the Year with Disabilities Award while Yane van der Merwe won the Sportswoman of the Year Award for the second consecutive time.
UJ SSD’s wheelchair basketball player, Michelle Moganedi Selala, and Kim MacDonald were finalists.
This was the third edition of the Johannesburg Women is Sport Awards. The Awards are organised by the Johannesburg Sports Confederation, in partnership with the City of Joburg and the Gauteng Sports Confederation. These awards honour women, teams and players who excel in sport on and off the field. Winners of the Johannesburg Women in Sports Awards automatically qualify for the provincial Gauteng Women in Sports Awards.
In October 2021, van der Merwe won the same Award while Chiedza Mzembe received a finalist certificate in the same category.
“Our club is committed to promoting para sport and creating a conducive environment for student-athletes with disabilities to participate in sport ranging from local to global competitions. We’re are very proud and happy to receive this award. This show the excellence that we have in the women para athletes and the work of the club as a whole,” said Lezanne Bruwer, Manager: UJ SSD Club.
On winning the award, van der Merwe said, “It is a massive honor for me to receive the award. It feels good knowing that people see the hard work that athletes put into our sports. With this award, I hope to inspire a lot of women and children struggling with a disability. I have improved my own African and South Africa record of April 2021. But this is not the finish line, I need to work even harder.”
Van der Merwe says that she received confirmation that the 2024 Paralympic Games will have shotput and discus for her class. “I am planning to adjust my training schedule. My goal for 2022 is to compete in the Commonwealth games that will take place this year,” she said.
Van der Merwe is currently enrolled in honours Sport Science degree at UJ.