The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) is thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted for this year’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Sport Awards in the Innovation category. In line with the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP), the KZN Sport Awards recognizes the province’s talented sportsmen, sportswomen and overall sporting excellence.

The new award category, the Innovation Award, has been introduced for the first time for the 2021 Awards. This category focuses on innovative ideas implemented during the awards qualification period that was largely affected by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department recognizes that innovation is key in the delivery of sport and recreation, particularly in a COVID-19 environment.

The hosting of the KZN Sport Awards emphasizes the vision of the department, the creation of ‘an active, winning and socially cohesive province through sport and recreation’. Such recognition of performances and achievements is intended to ‘motivate and propel those that are actively involved in sport to aspire to be like their peers who get due recognition’.

The Annual Sport Awards are the premier awards event on the KZN sporting calendar. The Awards recognize and acknowledge the successes and commitment of athletes, teams, coaches, administrators, volunteers, technical officials, media personnel and sport and recreation bodies, during the awards qualification period, 01 August 2019 to 31 July 2021. The KZN Sport Awards ceremony will be hosted in hybrid format on Friday, 05 November 2021; and is presented in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Sport Confederation. 

Traditionally hosted on an annual basis, the Awards precede the SA Sport Awards, in order for provincial winners to progress and be considered for national awards. The 2021 Sport Awards will be unique in that two years of performances are under consideration. This was brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic that effected the capacity to host an awards ceremony, due to the restrictions that limited participation within the sporting sector, particularly in 2020.

Covering a range of sporting categories, the awards gala brings together the very best in sport at the province’s top awards celebration. Winners will be selected under the award categories of Indigenous Games Team of the Year; School Team of the Year; Sport Media Person of the Year (Sports Journalist / Photographer); Administrator of the Year (Administrator / Volunteer); Technical Official of the Year; Coach of the Year; Recreation Body of the Year; Sport Federation of the Year; Junior Athlete of the  Year; Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability; Sportsman of the Year with a Disability; Team of the Year; Sportswoman of the Year; Sportsman of the Year; Sports Personality of the Year; Innovation Award as well as the MEC – Special Recognition Awards which include the Lifetime Achiever Award and Black Blazer Award.

CMA General Manager, Keletso Totlhanyo has welcomed the shortlisting, saying, “We are highly pleased with the shortlisting of the Comrades Marathon in the category of Innovation Award. Our team worked incredibly hard at making a success of our virtual events, Race the Comrades Legends last year and the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge this year. These proved to be among the world’s most successful virtual sporting events since the onset of COVID-19.”

CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “We value the confidence that the Department of Sport and Recreation as well as the sporting fraternity at large has shown in the CMA. We are grateful to everyone who has supported the Comrades Marathon and contributed to this world-class brand. We would also like to congratulate all other shortlisted sportsmen, sportswomen, media and other individuals, teams and events in the KZN Sport Awards. We look forward to the outcome on 5 November.”

The Comrades Marathon is not new to being shortlisted or winning prestigious awards, having been previously awarded the Sport Industry Awards in 2012 for Best Mass Participation Award and again in 2016 for the categories of Sport Brand of the Year and Sport Participation Event of the Year, as well as the Guinness World Record for the most finishers in an ultramarathon and the AIMS Award for being Africa’s oldest marathon and ultramarathon.