Le Clos voted S.Africa's top sports star
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) –
Swimming sensation Chad le Clos was crowned South Africa’s Sports Star of the Year on Sunday after winning a gold and silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
Dressed in a shiny golden suit and bow tie, Le Clos collected his prize — 1 million rand ($114,000, 89,000 euros) and a new BMW — from the country’s deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe at a glamorous awards ceremony in upmarket Johannesburg suburb Sandton.
Le Clos beat US legend Michael Phelps by five-hundredths of a second to take gold in the 200m butterfly on July 31. He then touched second to Phelps in the 100m butterfly event to claim silver.
His unexpected victory catapulted the tanned 20-year-old to instant stardom in his country, and earned him one of the nation’s most prestigious sports awards voted for by the public.
Other contenders were Hashim Amla, the first South African cricketer to score a triple century in a test match, footballer Siyabonga Nomvete, Oscar Pistorius, the first double-amputee to compete at an Olympics at the London Games, and paralympic swimmer Natalie du Toit, who ended her stellar career this year with 13 paralympic medals.
Pistorius and Du Toit won awards for best sportsman and sportswoman with a disability.
Sportswoman of the Year went to 800-meter Olympic silver medallist Caster Semenya. The 21-year-old had to undergo drug tests followed by gender tests after her gold at the Berlin outdoor world championships in 2009 made global headlines.
Star cricketer Vernon Philander, who has become the second-fastest bowler to take 50 Test wickets after only seven tests since he was chosen for the national team last year, was named Sportsman of the Year.