South African H1 Para-cyclist and double World Champion, Pieter du Preez, has been nominated for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability at the annual Laureus World Sports Awards. The prestigious awards take place in honour and recognition for outstanding achievement in the world of sport. The ceremonial event will take place in Berlin, Germany, on 19 April 2016.
“Supapiet”, as he is fondly known, has been phenomenal in not only Para-cycling, but he also set a new World Records in Wheelchair Racing – the Athletics discipline – on the track in the 10 000 metre race, as well as being the first quadriplegic to compete in a full IronMan triathlon in Australia in 2013.
“I have to tell you, of course it’s a huge thing to be nominated, but the response I have received over the past two days has been overwhelming. I think my wife was even more ecstatic than me because it’s such a team effort. It’s just been incredible,” said du Preez.
Du Preez described the whole experience as “mind-blowing” and said: “It’s great to be recognised as an athlete on a world scale, but it’s even better to be recognised as a quadriplegic. To be able to represent others like me out there, and let the world know just how much effort and hard work is actually required, and how much more difficult it is compared to other athletes, is something on its own.”
Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr Mike Burns, was full of congratulations for Du Preez. “I am extremely pleased that Pieter has received this well-deserved acknowledgement for his sustained sporting achievements. In the field of Para-cycling, his potential as an exceptional world-class sportsman was recognised in 2014, when he earned the UCI World Champion title for his Time Trial performance.
“When this was repeated with interest in 2015, in the form of his UCI World Champion title for the Road Race as well, his outstanding sportsman status was cemented. What makes Pieter’s Para-cycling achievements remarkable is that these accompany his exceptional international athletic and triathlon successes.
“South Africa, and more particularly the country's cycling community, is privileged to boast an association with this exceptional sports ambassador. Well done Pieter; we are very proud of you.”
The annual Laureus World Sports Awards showcase the work for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and celebrate the achievements of athletes from across the sporting world. The vote to determine the winners of each of the categories will be done by a secret ballot of members of the Laureus Sports Academy.
“Being there as a nominee is one thing, and to even just be a part of the whole event is absolutely incredible. I am so blessed,” he added.
Du Preez will be taking part in two different events in Europe just before the annual Laureus World Sports Awards takes place in Berlin in April. “I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement. And to Cycling South Africa for all that they have done for me and the other athletes, I really appreciate it all,” he concluded.
The Laureus World Sports Awards also focus on development, and the proceeds from the event itself go towards the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, dedicated to bettering the lives of young people through sport.
To find out more about the Laureus World Sports Awards, click here: https://www.laureus.com/