Sport stars of the month - May
Let’s Play, in association with various community newspapers, conducts a special initiative to give recognition to learners at either Primary or High school who excel in sport.
Play, physical education and sport are foundational to the holistic development of children and an initiative of this nature will establish a healthier community and encourage sports activity.
Schools wishing to participate in this initiative should submit a short letter with a motivation to their respective regional newspaper about why their learner should be the Sport Star of the Month.
Click here for more details.
Our winners for the month of May are:
DistrictMail Star of the Month: Nicole van der Merwe
Amazing success on the cycling track has earned Somerset West’s Nicole van der Merwe the DistrictMail Let’s Play Sports Star of the Month award for May.
Van der Merwe (17), a Grade 11 pupil at Rhenish Girls’ High School, clinched six SA junior women’s championship titles out of seven categories at the SA Track Championships in Pietermaritzburg at the end of April.
Her victories were claimed in the 10km points race, 5km scratch race, 1 500m Keirin and 500m time trial; she also nabbed a silver medal for the 2 000m individual pursuit.
Van der Merwe also participated in the Western Cape Track Cycling Championships at the Bellville Velodrome on 31 March, where she won seven gold medals.
She started cycling after completing her first Argus Cycle Tour in March 2009, but it was only after her third Argus that she decided to cycle competitively.
Since the middle of last year she has been training under the guidance of cycling coach and former Olympian cyclist Erica Green. Her initial training programme focused on road riding, but in September last year Green introduced her to track cycling; Jeanne Nel, SA men’s elite sprint champion, showed her the ropes.
“Two weeks later, after getting onto a track bike for the first time, I competed in the SA Grand Prix in Durban, where I came third in the three events I participated in,” says Van der Merwe. “You don’t have teammates to rely on, so the results you achieve are a direct result of the effort you put in,” she explains.
No limits for our SuperSport Let’s Play Sports Star of the Month
10 year old swimming sensation Zoë Frank from Ballito is SuperSport’s Let’s Play Sports Star for the month of May. The young swim star participated in the SA national age group championships in Newcastle recently and was seeded no 1 in SA after winning an astounding 10 medals.
Her previous achievements include holding the fastest time for the Midmar Mile and holding the SA swim record for her age category. Stan and Zrinka Frank, Zoë’s proud parents say, ‘Zoë’s natural ability to balance her sport, academic and social life will see her soar to greater heights even as she grows,’ Zoë started club swimming at the tender age of 8 and has competed in over 20 national, provincial and school events winning in excess of a 100 medals including being awarded the Victrix Ludorum on many occasions at the various events.
This star athlete who attends Ashton International College in Ballito, and also trains there under her coach, Dominique Donner, has also been awarded full colours for swimming and already achieved her SA level 02 times.
She has also taken up Life Saving with the Ballito Surf and Durban North Still Water Lifesaving Club and under the mentorship of South African Lifesaving Springbok, Sarah Bailley got immediately selected for the KZN provincial team to participate in the South African National Stillwater Lifesaving Championships – An event that added a further 9 medals, 2 SA records and the Victrix Ludorum to her collection.
Her school has awarded her the title of ‘2012 most promising girl’. Zoë who is a big fan of Olympic Champion, Chad Le Clos and believes in the motto, “Swim for Zoë” is well grounded and quietly confident. Olympic gold medals are certainly not too far off from this young stars future.
Express / Weekly Star of the Month: Hannah Shirley
Hannah Shirley, the vivacious 12 year old from Westville North is the Express / Weekly, SuperSport Let’s Play Sports Star of the month for May.
Hannah participates and excels in swimming, action netball, outdoor netball, field hockey, indoor hockey, athletics and softball, having obtained KZN colours for most of these sports. This all round sports star was selected at the age of 10 for the South African U13 ALL STARS softball team.
Hannah’s elated parents Loren and Rorke Shirley said, ‘ Hannah always loved sport from a very young age.She not only gives everything she has for her sports but has fun at the same.’
She has also made the KZN u12 field Hockey and PADDSA Netball teams. The young sports fanatic loves hockey and softball and plans to play for South Africa at the Olympic games. Hannah expresses her gratitude to her coaches Jayson Larkins (KZN Softball coach) and Malcom Reeders (KZN & SCHOOL Hockey Coach) for mentoring & helping her excel in her favourite sports. ’Nobody just has natural talent, you have to work hard to get good and then work even harder to get better, ‘ said the young sports star. Hannah’s advise to other kids is that you have within you the strength, the patience and passion to reach for the stars to change the world.