Avoiding injuries during 2017 was a key element for University of Johannesburg student-athlete Ruswahl Samaai as he made his mark in a number of international events this year.
His highlight of the year was winning the bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in August, which was preceded by earning a gold medal and three silvers in the Diamond League series in Europe.
Those achievements earned him the Sportsman of the Year award for the second year in a row at the UJ Sports Gala this month.
The 26-year-old transportation management student said a much later start to the season, which only began in April, had benefited his strengthening and conditioning programme.
“That helped me to stay strong throughout the year and being injury-free made me confident I could get onto the podium.”
“I just felt that the only thing that could keep me from getting a medal at any championship was if I had an injury.”
Already in training for next year, Samaai said he realised that things would be quite different in 2018 as the season was jam-packed with key international meetings.
The season will start with the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England, in March, followed by Australia’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.
The long jump star said he was happy to be recognised at the UJ Sports Gala function once again.
“It definitely it is one of the goals for me during the year and it’s an honour to receive it against the world-class sportsmen at UJ.
“I must compliment them on their achievements, but it’s great for me to be honoured again.”