Long jump champion Luvo Manyonga was crowned Sports Star of the year on Sunday at the 2017 edition of the South African Sports Awards.
Speaking to the media after receiving the accolade, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Champion attributed his success to hard word and the support he received from his fans.
“All these years I was out and about and South Africans did not give up on me and my team didn’t give up on me. I just want to make sure that my country is proud of me,” Manyonga said.
Manyonga also gave credit to fellow athletes.
“I was competing with world-class athletes. It was tough and I really recognize them as the best athletes in the world.”
Manyonga bagged two accolades at the awards, Sportsman of the Year and Sports Star of the Year.
In response to a question about his addiction to drugs, which he fought and conquered, the athlete gave an inspiring message to the youth and aspiring athletes, to follow their dreams.
“When God wants to use you, you must use that opportunity to show the world that God is really alive. I am the living example. I want to tell the world that anything is possible with God. It’s possible to make anything that you want to achieve in life, it doesn’t matter where you come from.”
— SA Sport Awards (@SASportAwards) November 13, 2017
Meanwhile, other winners of the night were 800 metre World Champion Caster Semenya who also bagged two awards, Sportswoman of the Year and the People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year.
Other winners on the nights were:
Sportsman of the Year with a Disability: Dyan Buis
Sportswoman with a Disability: Ilse Hayes
Team of the Year: Springbok Sevens
Newcomer of the Year: Sokwakhana Zazini
Coach of the Year: Jean Verster
Sports Administrator of the Year: Sanelisiwe Khuzwayo