National long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and Banyana Banyana soccer player Thato Letsoso received the top accolades when the University of Johannesburg sports awards gala function was held at the Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg last night.
The 27-year-old Samaai was named Sportsman of the Year for the third time in a row. One of his highlights in 2018 was winning the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.
Letsoso received the Sportswoman of the Year honour after excelling on the soccer field, leading UJ to victory in the University Sport South Africa tournament in July and playing for the national team in the Cosafa Cup in Port Elizabeth last month.
Rugby star Wian Conradie showed his talent on and off the field by winning the student-athlete award, which combines academic excellence with sporting achievement.
In his fourth year studying quantity surveying, he has averaged 79.2% in the classroom, while turning out for the UJ first team, as well as Namibia.
Besides his Commonwealth Games bronze medal, Samaai represented UJ at the IAAF Diamond League finals in Switzerland where he finished second overall by jumping 8.32m.
One of his best performances came in the African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, when he walked away with the gold medal. His winning jump of 8.45m was just four centimetres short of his personal best of 8.49m.
The 22-year-old Letsoso, a third-year sports psychology student, has been an influential performer on the hockey field.
After leading her team to the Ussa title, she captained the national student team at the Confederation of University and College Sports Association Games in Botswana in July, which they won.
At a national level, Letsoso was a member of the South African squad which ended first in the African World Cup qualifiers in Lesotho.
The silver medal in the Sportswoman of the Year category went to triple jumper Patience Ntshingila and third place was occupied by another triple jumper, Zinzi Chabangu.
Conradie was the Sportsman of the Year runner-up, with the bronze medal going to judo exponent Jacque Joubert.