Star athlete faces off against Bloem Celtic captain in awards

2013-11-21 15:35

IAAF World Championships 1 500m bronze medallist Johan Cronje and Bloemfontein Celtic captain Thabo Nthethe will contest the Free State media Sports Star of the Year tonight.

The pair is in the same category as Springbok players Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuizen, as well as Proteas stars Dean Elgar and Ryan Maclaren.

“It is always difficult for athletics or swimming to compete against rugby and cricket guys but my achievements put me up there,” said Cronje, who has already received recognition from the province after the Free State Rugby Union (FRU) honoured him in October.

“Just for me to be nominated is good for the province.”

It has been a remarkable season for Cronje on the track this season and the athletics fraternity still seek answers on why he didn’t even make the list of nominations in the just-ended SA Sports Awards.

The 31-year-old was South Africa’s sole medallist at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, in August.

He is ranked number ninth in the world, and prior to his global achievement, he bettered the South African 1 500m record twice.

Cronje ran 3:33.46 in the opening leg of the Diamond League in Doha, Qatar, in May, a mark that broke the 20-year-old South African record (3:33.56) previously set by Johan Landsman in August 1993.

He also clocked 3:31.93 during the World Challenge Meeting in Rieti, Italy, in September.

Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana defender Nthethe also had a good season in his right and his latest achievement was being made the captain of the Bafana team that beat Swaziland 3-0 last Friday.

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