South Africa: Wayde Wins Rio Olympics’ Best Male Athlete Award

More global honours came the way of Wayde van Niekerk on Tuesday night as he was named best male athlete of the Rio Olympics at the Association of National Olympic Committees awards in Doha, Qatar.

Van Niekerk won gold in the 400-metre track event, at the same time breaking the 17-year-old world record of 43.18sec, held by Michael Johnson.

What made Van Niekerk’s 43.03sec win all the more remarkable that he was running in the unfavoured lane eight.

The women’s award went to women’s tennis champion Monica Puig of Puerto Rico who beat second seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany in the final in Rio.

Tuesday also saw the ANOC’s general assembly being held.

Associated Press reports that in other awards, the men’s team award went to Fiji’s gold-medal winning rugby sevens team, and the female prize going to Britain’s winning field hockey team.

Brazil’s Rafaela Silva, who grew up in a Rio slum and won a gold medal in judo at the games, took the award for most inspirational performance.

The British Olympic Association was honoured as the most successful national Olympic committee after finishing second in the medals table behind the United States with 67 medals, it’s most ever on foreign soil. Britain, which won 65 medals at the 2012 London Olympics, became the first country to win more medals at an Olympics immediately after hosting the event.

‘Breakthrough’ awards were given to countries which won their first ever Olympic medal or first ever gold medal in Rio – Bahrain, Ivory Coast, Fiji, Jordan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Tajikistan and Vietnam.

Source: South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.