National long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and squash star Alexa Pienaar were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at the University of Johannesburg sports awards gala function at the Johannesburg Country Club last night.
Samaai won the men’s award for the second straight year, showing his prowess by taking the bronze medal in the World Athletics Championships in London in August.
Johannesburg-based Pienaar made it a double celebration when she also won the student-athlete award for excelling in sport and academics.
A third-year transportation management student, Samaai proved himself at an international level this year.
Besides his London success, he achieved a first and three second places in the Diamond League series in Europe.
Runner-up in the men’s category was long jumper Andrea Dalle Ave, who won the national title in the championships for the physically disabled.
The bronze medal position was shared by hockey star Brynn Cleak and para-athlete sprinter Sheldon Thomas.
Pienaar, a fine art student, was a key player for UJ as they won the annual University Sport South Africa tournament for the sixth straight year.
She also attended the World University Championships in Malaysia with the Ussa team, while taking third place in the prestigious SA Open tournament this year.
Second in the women’s category was soccer star and UJ captain Thato Letsoso. She was in the Ussa team that gained fourth place at the World Student Games in Taipei in August.
Triple jumper Patience Ntshingila, who won the title at the Ussa championships in April with a distance of 13.11m, was awarded the bronze medal.
In the student-athlete category, which combines academic marks and sporting achievement, Pienaar averaged 74 per cent in her fine art national diploma.
The silver medal went to another squash player, Kyle Maree, who has averaged 72.8 per cent over two years in his BComm degree and captained the Ussa team at the World University Championships.
Bronze was shared by walker and education student Anel Oosthuizen and rugby player and building science student Wian Conradie.