Elite Athlete Development Programme Media Release
Life-changing few months for
Durban – In an Olympic year the calibre of nominees for the
KwaZulu-Natal Sportsman of the Year is often at its finest and
for Olympic bronze medallist and rising triathlon star Henri
Schoeman, who has played runner-up to Chad le Clos and Hank
McGregor in the past, finally claiming the prestigious award in
2016 was a dream come true.
Having missed out on the KZN Sportsman of the Year award in the
past few years, Schoeman was overwhelmed when he was awarded the
honour at a glitzy ceremony recently however the young star knows
that the award is only the start of bigger things.
“It is an incredible honour to be awarded the Sportsman of the
Year award after a couple years of being a nominee and it is even
more special because it is something that I have wanted to
achieve for a few years.
“I want to thank the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation for
the accolade and I want this to be another boost for me to move
onto bigger and better things in triathlon.
“This award has just ticked another box,” a satisfied Schoeman
The meteoric rise of the young triathlon talent came as a
surprise to many as he powered his way to bronze at the recent
Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro however the 25 year old felt that
he was peaking at the right time heading into the Games and knew
that he was in line for a strong performance.
“I believed that I was going to produce something special at the
Olympic Games this year even though I knew getting a medal was
going to be tough,” Schoeman said.
“Very few people expected me to medal at the event and that was
an added incentive.
“I wanted to try and inspire people and help them realise that
you don’t have to be one of the favourites to perform well.”
Schoeman followed up his impressive bronze medal with his maiden
win on the ITU World Series circuit when he beat the more fancied
Brownlee brothers from Britain for a first World Series victory
of his career. These two results have catapulted Schoeman into
the limelight but have also given him a significant boost going
into the next season.
“My win in Mexico has gone a long way in giving me the confidence
that I need going into next season.
“My motivation levels have always been there but now I am even
more determined to do well and become the best runner on the
circuit; I feel that I don’t have to prove myself anymore.
“I am ready for bigger challenges,” he added.
Schoeman’s work schedule has been jam-packed up until recently
and a well-earned break is currently the order of the day for
However, with the momentum that he has gained over the past few
months, he won’t be spending too much time away from training.
“I have taken a few weeks off after Mexico but I am slowly
starting to get back into it as I want to give KZN track champs a
go this year in the 5000m and 10 000m so I am slowly working
“There is a UTI World Cup event in Cape Town in February which
will be a target for me but the season really begins in March and
I am really looking forward to it,” an excited Schoeman added.
The KwaZulu-Natal Sport Awards was dominated by athletes from the
Elite Athlete Development Programme as canoeing ace Bridgitte
Hartley was awarded the KZN Sportswoman of the Year award, whilst
fellow canoeing star Jean van der Westhuysen snapped up the
Junior Sportsman of the Year award and rising judo talent Jasmine
Martin won the Junior Sportswoman of the Year award.
Paddler Banetse Nkhoesa was acknowledged with an award for
bravery following a devastating stabbing incident late in 2015
that threatened to not curtail his FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon goals
but his life as well.
Determination and hard work saw him and partner Sbonelo Khwela
finish the race in an incredible third overall though.
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After a few years of
finishing as a runner up 2016 was finally the year of Henri
Schoeman as the Olympic bronze medallist won the KZN Sportsman of
the Year prize at the recent KwaZulu-Natal Sports Awards.
It was a great
evening for the Elite Athlete Development Programme as the young
judo star Jasmine Martin claimed the Junior Sportswoman of the
Year award at the recent KwaZulu-Natal Sports Awards.
It was a clean sweep
of major awards for the EADP as Jean van der Westhuysen snapped
up the Junior Sportsman of the Year award at the recent
KwaZulu-Natal Sports Awards.
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