WARRANT Officer Zandisile Mbekwana (52), was awarded by the South African Police Service for his sterling performance in athletics.Mbekwana, a police officer from Harding, was named second runner-up in the Sportsman of the Year category at the South African Police Service KZN Provincial Commissioner’s Excellence Awards, held at the Coastlands Hotel in Umhlanga on November 28.“I did not expect it. I was very excited and I was not expecting anything because I do sport for fun. It is a privilege to be acknowledged,” said Mbekwana.Mbekwana won a trophy, cash prize, and a Spur voucher for his achievement.Other awards he won throughout the year included a silver medal for a 100 meters race, silver for 200 meters, and gold in the 400 meters category. Mbekwana said his passion to become a sprinter started in 2007 and, as a result, he ended up running 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters as well. He trained early each morning before work, and after work in the streets of Harding. Mbekwana is also part of the Forever Young running club that is based in Matatiele. His sporting success over the years began during his school days, where he played soccer and did running as well: “I played soccer at first, but as soon as I realised that soccer was not for me, I decided to become a sprinter,” said Mbekwana.This year he said he did very well in the South African Masters, held at Bloemfontein, where he was placed fourth.“I believe in hard work, dedication and discipline, and I also love my job as a policeman because it gives me the opportunity to make our country a better and safer place,” he said. He encouraged other police members and young people of South Africa to get involved in sports.“When you join any sport activity, it enables you to travel all over the country and make interesting friends,” said Mbekwana.He said that, by training hard, he wants to improve his running time and he hopes that he will achieve his mission soon.Mbekwana expressed his gratitude to his family and members of the SAPS, including his station commander, for giving him the support he needed.