World number two long-jumper Zarck Visser leapt into the University of Johannesburg record books when he earned his third straight Sportsman of the Year title at the UJ Sports Awards on Thursday night.
The Commonwealth Games silver medallist was one of a trio of jumping stars who bounded into the spotlight at the annual gala evening at Usambara Game Lodge in Muldersdrift.
Visser’s UJ jumping academy teammates Zinzi Chabangu and Khotso Mokoena claimed the respective honours in the Sportswoman of the Year and Club Sportsperson of the Year categories.
Former South African and continental champion Visser outshone the competition this season with a career best leap of 8.41m at the Bad Langensalza meeting in Germany in July.
Despite a lingering ankle injury, the sixth-year transport management student also scooped the bronze medal at the IAAF World Challenge Grand Prix in Morocco and silver at the Diamond League meeting in London.
Visser represented Team SA at the world champs in China, where he finished in the top 20, and was also selected for the African Games in Congo.
His female counterpart, Chabangu, distinguished herself at the Southern Region Senior Championships in Mauritius, where she snatched gold in the long jump and silver in the triple.
She took bronze in both disciplines at the SA Senior Track and Field Champs and occupied the same podium position in the triple jump at the African Junior Championships in Ethiopia.
Chabangu, who is in the first year of her sports management studies, also represented her country at the World Student Games in Korea and African Games. She finished fifth in the triple jump at the continental competition.
Earlier this season, three-time Olympian Mokoena secured the national triple-jump crown when he cleared 16.65m at SA champs.
He qualified for worlds in the process, where he finished a credible ninth overall with a distance of 16.81m.
Mokoena, who holds the SA records in both the triple and long jump, placed second in the latter event at the IAAF World Challenge Grand Prix and third at the Diamond Challenge meet in Sweden.
Rounding out the high profile awards was race walker Anél Oosthuizen, who walked away with the Student-Athlete of the Year title, which recognises the best overall performance in both the sporting arena and lecture hall.
Oosthuizen struck gold at the South African Senior Athletics Championships with a time of 1:38:03 in the 20km walk – the fastest SA time in 11 years.
She went on to set a new national student record in the USSA competition.
Oosthuizen placed fifth at the African Games and attained a top-20 finish at the Coruna Grand Prix in Spain.
The second-year further education and training student balanced these achievements with a commendable 14 distinctions and an aggregate of more than 78 per cent since starting her studies at UJ.
Aside from the student-athlete title, Oosthuizen also finished in the runner-up spot behind Chabangu in the Sportswoman of the Year category.
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