Race walker Lebogang Shange and distance runner Lebo Phalula were name Male and Female Senior Athletes of the Year at the Central Gauteng Athletics Awards on Saturday night.
Shange shattered multiple national marks during a breakthrough 2015 season, lowering his own national 20km record to 1:21:43 when he finished 11th at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August.
He also set new SA bests over 3 000m, 5 000m and 20 000m on the track.
Shange received the accolade ahead of fellow nominees Khotso Mokoena, who was a triple jump finalist at the global championships, shot put specialist Jaco Engelbrecht, long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and distance runner Sibusiso Nzima.
Phalula, meanwhile, scooped the women’s award after a solid season on the track and road.
She won the national 1 500m and 5 000m titles in Stellenbosch in April and the SA Half-Marathon Championships in Port Elizabeth in July, and went on to finished second behind twin sister Lebogang Phalula in the Spar Women’s Grand Prix 10km series.
Displaying her versatility, she also qualified for next year’s Rio Olympics when she took fifth place on her 42km debut at the Cape Town Marathon in September, clocking 2:38:54.
Phalula was recognised at the annual gala function, held in Fourways, ahead of five other finalists including fellow distance runners Nolene Conrad, Keneilwe Sesing and Lorraine Novela.
Race walker Anel Oosthuizen and triple jumper Patience Ntshingila had also been nominated for the award.
Promising 110m hurdler Mpho Tladi and middle-distance runner Liza Kellerman were named Male and Female Junior Athletes of the Year.