South Africa’s double Olympic gold medallist Penny Heyns expects the country’s swimmers to do well at this year’s Olympics beginning in Rio de Janeiro this Friday.

However, she says it is worrying that South Africa will not be sending any women swimmers to the Olympics. She was a keynote speaker at the launch of the 2016 SPAR G-sport Awards in Johannesburg on Monday.

Eleven male swimmers have been selected to represent the country in Rio. They are led by London 2012 gold medallists Chad Le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) did not recognize Olympic slots earned through continental qualifiers, making it impossible for the women swimmers and some other athletes to qualify for the Olympics.

Heyns said here Monday: “I think people need to realise there is an A-cut and a B-cut and in the past we used to send a team with some B-cut times, but this time South Africa has decided that we only sending A-cut times. So it is very stiff to get in and we had one or two girls who came quite close but unfortunately the criteria were set.”

Marathon runner Christine Kalmer, who will be making her Olympic debut in Rio, considers herself lucky. “I am really excited about it, all the hard work, all the years of waking up early, and putting in the mileage, it’s finally paying off,” said Kalmer.

Meanwhile, two athletes have made the shortlist of three in the Athlete of the Year category in the 2016 G-Sport awards.

The 2016 Comrades Marathon winner, Charne Bosman, is pitted against 800 metres women’s world champion Caster Semenya and national netball player Karla Mostert for the major award.

“I have been running for 24 years and winning the Comrades was a dream for a very long time and winning comrades still feels like a dream, and it is a life changing experience and I am so grateful for the win,” said Bosman.

There are 42 finalists in the 14 categories for this year’s G-Sport Awards, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Members of the public have until the 21st of this month to vote for their favourites.

The awards ceremony will take place on Aug 27.