The year 2016 has been a breakthrough year for the UKZN Athletics Club, especially on the Howard College campus.
Over the years, athletics at UKZN had gradually fallen into a situation where it was not a high priority sport, with the club struggling to attract athletes.
A decision was taken by existing members last year that the club needed to be rejuvenated so this year there was a concerted drive to recruit members, leading to a spike in membership from about 40 to more than 100!
The biggest growth was seen in the road running section where the club was able to recruit past and present students who were not members of clubs or who decided to change clubs. The club also revived cross country which had been practically dormant.
With the dedication of the coaches and the discipline of the athletes, UKZN has been able to compete well in track and field and some of its athletes were selected for provincial and national teams. UKZN runners were also very visible in popular road races such as the Mandela Marathon, Soweto Marathon and the Comrades Marathon.
To round off a successful year and celebrate collective achievements, the Howard College branch of the UKZN Athletics Club held its inaugural club awards event to recognise and reward top achieving athletes for 2016.
Comrades marathon veteran and staff member, Mr Tony Singarum, said Sports Officer Mr Ayanda Ndlovu deserved to be commended for his dedication and hard work towards ensuring athletics at UKZN was being taken to another level and said we plan to launch a weekly Time Trial in 2017 at our Westville campus and would like to see more staff and students involved in athletics.
The following awards were made:
The most prestigious award, UKZN Athlete of the Year, went to: Cassidy Williamson.
Runner of the year: Nhlanhla Nzama
Most improved male athlete: Sanele Mbambo
Most improved female athlete: Elizabeth Gallias
Rookie of the year: Bruce Maanda
Athlete of the year: Happiness Mkhize
Most improved male athlete: Bruce Maanda
Most improved female athlete: Aphelele Jileka
Rookie of the year: Happiness Mkhize
Track and Field
Athlete of the year: Brittany Uys
Most improved male athlete: Itumeleng Lesuthu
Most improved female athlete: Nonhlanhla Gcina
Rookie of the year: Andile Ndabezitha
National and provincial athletes were awarded certificates:
Cassidy Williamson - World Junior Championships: Poland
Brittany Uys - African Senior Championships: South Africa
Certificates of appreciation were awarded to coaches Victor Ntshangase and Wade Fraser.
Senior Sport officer, Mr Ayanda Ndlovu, handled logistics for the awards event.