Swimming ace Alaric Basson was delighted at being named as the Sportsman of the Year when Madibaz Sport held their annual awards function this month.
One of the country’s leading breaststrokers, the 23-year-old star received the accolade for the second time, with the first being in 2016.
He was also named Nelson Mandela University’s Sports Personality of the Year in a Facebook poll by his peers.
“I feel extremely blessed and it’s really a great achievement for me to be named the best sportsman at the university for 2019,” said Basson.
“It’s just always a good feeling when your hard work has been recognised.
“In addition, being named Sports Personality of the Year is humbling as it came down to people having to vote for a few nominees on social media.
“To know that there are people who support me and think that I have the personality or the character to be worthy of such an award is very special.”
Basson, who lives in Uitenhage, said a positive attitude had been one of the key elements to his success this year.
“I was always mindful of the things I put in place to stay positive as I firmly believe in the extreme power of the mind.
“Also, it was about staying true and believing in the work I have put in, as well as trusting the programme and the process.”
He became the first swimmer from the varsity to represent South Africa at the World Championships in South Korea in July.
The biggest lesson from the world champs, Basson said, was learning how to deal with pressure of the most severe kind.
“To be honest, seeing the best of the best there was just so inspiring. I saw a number of world records being broken so, really, I was witnessing the fastest swimming the world has ever seen.
“Competing in an event of that nature taught me a lot about handling pressure. I’ve learnt to relax and, at the same time, I’ve learnt to just enjoy the moment and enjoy the racing.”
He paid special tribute to coach Mark Edge for the role he had played.
“I have to give credit to him as he is extremely dedicated about what he does and never gives up on his swimmers.
“I would also like to make mention of Madibaz Sport for their constant support.”