UJ Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards set for thrilling showdown

Several University of Johannesburg (UJ) student-athletes will compete for the prestigious Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards at the annual Sports Gala on 21 November 2023. Numerous student-athletes who will be vying for the two awards have won gold medals at national and international competitions, making this year’s Awards the fiercely contested competition.

There are more than 20 nominations in six categories of the Awards, with student-athletes and club members from different UJ sport clubs such as Athletics, Hockey, Basketball, Sport for Students with Disabilities (SSD), Football, Rugby, Cricket, and Netball. The Sportsman category has received nine nominees while the Sportswoman of the Year has received five nominees.

Joviale Mbisha far left in Chengdu - Photo. USSA
Joviale Mbisha far left in Chengdu – Photo. USSA

“The Sports Gala is UJ’s most prestigious sport event of the year. It presents an opportunity for our student-athletes to be celebrated and our staff members to showcase the outstanding work they do with the student-athletes and external teams,” says Ms Niamh Faherty, Manager: Events and Marketing at UJ Sport.

She added, “At the event, there will be athletes who have competed and will compete in the upcoming Olympic Games and other prestigious junior and senior World Championships. The Sports Gala is a platform to recognise our student-athletes for their outstanding work and achievements. It is a glamourous evening of celebration of excellence, and I am very excited about this year’s event.”

Some of the Sport Clubs that have excelled this year

In May this year, the UJ Athletics Club was crowned champions of the 2023 University Sport South Africa (USSA) championships in Bloemfontein. The UJ A team won the competition by 350 points – 43 ahead of second-placed North West University Potchefstroom A.

UJ scooped 29 medals; 14 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze medals. The team comprised 68 student-athletes who were split into A and B squads. They competed in 34 events, including, among others; sprints and middle-distance running, long-, high- and triple-jump, hammer throw, discus, and shotput.

In Chengdu, China, UJ’s trio, Tsebo Matsoso, Joviale Mbisha and Nhlanhla Maseko added four medals to South Africa’s total 20 medals in the FISU World University Games. Speedster Matsoso won a gold medal in the men’s 200m sprint and a bronze medal in the men’s 4x100m relay team.

Nhlanhla Maseko far right in Chengdu - Photo. USSA
Nhlanhla Maseko far right in Chengdu – Photo. USSA

In the USSA Basketball championship in Durban, the UJ Senior Men’s Basketball Team was crowned champions of the 5×5 tournament at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Westville Campus. UJ players Amogelang Modisane, Kgalalelo Matlawe, and Nyeleti Nyathi (from the women’s team) as well as men’s players Nino Dim and Sbonge Mkhwanazi were selected as part of the final 2023 USSA national team squad. Kagiso Peace Famodimu and Davison Chivero were named 2023 USSA Basketball MVP Male and 2023 USSA Basketball Finals MVP Male, respectively.

With five clubs (basketball, hockey, netball, rugby, and squash) spread across the country to compete in the winter 2023 USSA championships, UJ teams performed well. UJ Netball featured two ladies’ teams in the competition with UJ 1 in Division A and UJ 2 in Division B. UJ 2 was the first UJ team in this year’s USSA championships to win gold, while UJ 1 finished in 4th place – a spot in the prestigious Super League of universities netball teams.

The Men’s Rugby Team finished in second position of the USSA championship in Durban on Wednesday, 12 July 2023. UJ’s two wins over the University of the Western Cape on Saturday, 8 July and Wits University on Monday, 10 July 2023 and one loss to Stellenbosch University lifted them to a podium finish as runner-up in a fiercely contested championship featuring twenty universities’ rugby teams.

With a number of student-athletes who competed and finished in podium positions this year, the 2023 UJ Sport Awards promises to be a fascinating event. With three teams finishing as runners-up in the FNB Varsity Sports (men’s and women’s football and women’s netball teams) men’s rugby team in the USSA tournament, it is going to be a tough one to decide on the winner for Team of the Year.

The Awards categories include:

Age Group Sportswoman, Age Group Sportsman, Club Sportsman, Club Sportswoman, Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards.

Winners of the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year in 2021 and 2022

The past two years’ winners of the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year were Blitzboks 7s rugby player Ronald Brown and hockey star Kristen Paton (2021) as well as middle-distance runner Ryan Mphahlele and wheelchair basketball maestro Michelle Moganedi (2022).

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