SA Women’s Hockey team player Kristen Paton was named the Student-athlete and Sportswoman of the year at the 2021 University of Johannesburg Sport Gala tagged “Shaping African University Sports through excellence, honour and victory”.
A fifth year Chiropractic student, with 38 caps for South Africa, she was part of the South African women’s team that took part at the 2020 Olympic Games and this has been one of the best highlight for Paton having competed amongst the worlds best players. “Thank you UJ Sports for celebrating all our incredible sports stars, congratulations to everyone, it’s been a ride and it is incredibly special to win sportswomen of the year and student athlete of the year”
Namibian international hockey player and 4th year Bio-Kinetics student Jivanka Kruger won silver and the SPAR Proteas player South Africa women’s netball team forward Boitumelo Mahloko won bronze.
The UJ sportsman of the year deservedly won by Ronald Brown, a South African rugby sevens player. He competed in the men’s tournament at the 2020 Summer Olympics where they finished top of pool C. A cancer survivor, Brown has to put his career on hold just when he was on the verge of making his Springbok Sevens debut in 2019. He has since recovered and playing again. “After what I’ve been through, representing my country on an international level is sweet,” he says. “There are many people who don’t survive cancer but here I am, I survived and I get to live my dream”.
Jason “the gentle giant” Van Rooyen won silver, he was one of the 15 UJ affiliated people who represented South Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Shot Put event Jason threw 20.29 to finish 19th at the games. While Namibian men’s hockey team and UJ orange army player Nikolaas Jocobs (hockey) won the bronze.
Other winners of the evening includes:
Michelle Moganedi – UJ Student for sport with disability (SSD): Wheelchair basketball. Siyemukela Ndlovu – South Africa U/20 vice captain and they won the series tournament and also won the provincial U/20 SA Currie cup tournament as captain of the Xerox Lions team. Football team Nolufefe Sila – Football coordinator; Karabo Mogudi – head coach of uj men’s 1st team & Thabang Lebese – captain: uj men’s 1st team. Tumelo Leseke. – former UJ women’s rugby team manager won the Mastercard Golden Lions first division tournament. Uj Athletics – won the University Sport South Africa cross-country championships.
Senior Director UJ sports and president of the USSA Ms Nomsa Mahlangu was awarded with an Honorary Commendation for her outstanding contribution to sports. She was in September honoured by the Mpamalanga Province with a Legendary sports administrator awards at its sports festival for her many years of professional contribution to sports on national, continental and international levels. In her address expressed her appreciation to all the athletes and everyone who has made the year a success, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank and pay tribute to the people that make our jobs easier, like Prof Swart who has been a consistent supporting system whether we are wining or not. To the Vice Chancellor and principal of our great institution, Out of your continuous encouragement and questions you keep asking us, on why we are not winning, I want to say, tonight I am proud tonight to say that UJ has won several events and next year we will bring more”.
Other awardees of the evening were Vice Chancellor Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala, He said; “Many of our athletes have participated at elite levels & all the effort, discipline & rigorous training they invested, paid off on the competiton stage. Our players, coaches and players represented our university well & that resulted in some of the players being called up for national duties. Tonight we are gathered here to appreciate the student-athletes` athletisis.
Also Prof Andre Swart Executive dean Facaulty of Health Sciences UJ for his support of Uj sports. Other guests of the evening were, Nicolas Pieter du Preez is a South African athlete in paratriathlon. He was the first person with tetraplegia to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon in 2014. Du Preez started competing at the Berlin Marathon in 2008 and was a seven-time winner since 2012. “I was in ICU for 42 days after my injury he said; fast forward, I found strength & motivation from my injury. I focused on getting independant and getting back to the field of play. If you have a dream/goal, it is your responsibility to make it happen. Amongst others, I have 5 world championship tittles. It was an honour competing in tokyo as this was my childhood dream of 35 years. It was a special event & I dedicate my medal to UJ, my community & everyone who was & is behind me”.