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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'Athletics has so much room to make things happen' - BackTrack Sports announce new athletics awards

As difficult as 2021 has been for the sports industry in general, South African athletes, administrators, coaches and several other key role players worked hard to ensure that athletics in the country reopened after the 2020 calendar was basically wiped clean by Covid19. Although the lack of competition last year resulted in Team SA failing to win an athletics Olympic medal at #Tokyo2021 for the first time in the nation's post-Apartheid history, there were many encouraging performances which must be celebrated.

Both Akani Simbine and his coach Werner Prinsloo have been nominated for the 2021 BackTrack People's Choice Athletics Awards. Photo Credit: Akani Simbine.

It is for this reason that BackTrack Sports decided to host the inaugural BACKTRACK 2021 PEOPLE'S CHOICE ATHLETICS AWARDS. "Considering 2021 being an Olympic year and the extreme amounts of effort our industry went through to make it happen and get our athletes there, we decided there must be an Awards Event to recognize it. We want to make it an annual event from here," said BackTrack Sports Executive Director Erwin Schmidt in conversation with #TheTopRunner.

The virtual awards ceremony which will be streamed live on on the 16th of December, consists of 11 categories where senior, junior and disable athletes are up for awards. "We appointed a panel of 7 individuals with different perspectives of the industry. We keep them anonymous as we don’t want anything to influence the nominations going forward," said Schmidt explaining how the nomination process worked.

After setting a new African record and taking fourth place in the men's Olympic 100m final, it's no surprise to see Akani Simbine nominated for both the senior male athlete of the year and the athletics personality of the year alongside Gerda Steyn who set a new SA women's marathon record while finishing inside the top 15 at #Tokyo2021. For producing two Olympians in his Zoo Lake Group Hendrick Ramaala is nominated for the coach of the year award alongside the legendary Hennie Kriel and JJ Smith, while Benjamin Richardson and Sinesipho Dambile are rewarded with a nomination in the junior male category after winning gold in the 4x100m relay at the World Junior Championships in Kenya.

For BackTrack the point of these awards is to awaken the sleeping giant that is South African athletics. "I am most looking forward to the Athletics Industry realising the power of their own content. Athletics, we believe, has so much room for people to make things happen," he concluded. Go to to vote.

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