Gauteng Central Tennis congratulate these two superstars on their wonderful achievement. We are humbled by your committment, tenacity and sportsmanship!
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa’s (WTSA) superstars, Kgothatso Montjane and Lucas Sithole were named Sportspersons of the Year, in the disabled category, at a ceremony held at Sun City last night (Sunday, 21 August, 2011). Montjane was judged against a tough line up, with athletes like Natalie du Toit and fellow swimmer Emily Gray also in the running. Sithole was up against equally stiff competition with track and field athlete, Hilton Langenhoven and sprinter Samkelo Radebe vying for the title.
Director of WTSA, Holger Losch, said “We are so pleased that our star athletes have been recognised and are incredibly proud of the achievements that put Lucas and Kgothatso in the running for these awards. We stand together to congratulate them on being among a handful of South African athletes who have been acknowledged for their outstanding contribution to sport in our country.” The event, themed ‘Night of the Stars’ was hosted by The honourable Minister of Sports and Recreation South Africa, Mr Fikile Mbalula, in partnership with SASCOC and the North West Government. The Sports Person of the Year award went to Proteas cricketer Hashim Amla who prized with a Lexus and a cheque for R250 000.
Sithole, a 24 year old wheelchair tennis player from Kwa-Zulu Natal has made his mark representing his country in the quad division of wheelchair tennis. The current No.15 in the world, Sithole was recently nominated by the Mail & Guardian as one of South Africa’s top 200 influential men in the Sport’s division; and was winner of the ‘disabled sportsperson of the year 2010’ Gauteng Sports Awards. “I am so pleased to be able to add the SASCOC award to my list of accolades and congratulate my fellow athletes and applaud them for their dedication to being the best that they can be,” said Sithole. This inspiring quadriplegic, is a fiercely competitive athlete, a great team player and has a natural ability for the game. Sithole was involved in a tragic train accident which left him a triple amputee at the tender age of 10. Today Sithole dedicates his time and energy to reaching the top 10 rankings of the world, and is currently doggedly working toward representing SA at the 2012 Paralympics.
Sithole’s counterpart, Montjane is currently No.13 on the international women’s rankings, and No.1 in South Africa. Montjane was also unbeaten in Africa’s first World Team Cup in April this year. “What an honour and a privilege to be recognised for my sporting ability. I hope that I can be an inspiration to other disabled people and encourage them to reach for the stars,” said Montjane. Born with a congenital defect, Montjane suffered a foot amputation, but this 25-year-old has not let that stand in her way to becoming an accomplished athlete. Montjane already has many big tournament wins behind her name and has established a formidable presence on the international wheelchair tennis circuit. She is currently pouring all her energy into training for the upcoming 2012 Paralympics to be held in London.
WTSA currently celebrates 80 players on the world ranking – this is more than any other nation and a true accomplishment for any country with such a young team. From its inception wheelchair tennis has been one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world – primarily because it integrates easily with the able-bodied game. In 2004 Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) officially set out to grow this as a national sport for the disabled. The WTSA philosophy is based on offering life skills such as discipline, determination and teamwork.