Maripa Wins Top Disabled Sportsman Prize
South Africa’s leading men’s wheelchair tennis ace Evans Maripa claimed another major provincial award at the Gauteng Sport Awards held on Sunday evening at Silvester Casino in Mogale City.
The 27-year-old who is currently on a tour in Europe was crowned Sportsman of the year with a disability. Maripa was named ahead of 15-year-old blade runner Ntando Mahlangu, athlete Pieter du Preez and two-time wheelchair tennis Grand Slam champion Lucas Sithole.
The Limpopo native, who is the first man from Africa to be ranked in the top 12 globally celebrated his first ever provincial award when he was named Sportsman of the year with a disability at the Limpopo Sports Awards in 2016.
Maripa has had a stellar season winning two titles in Israel, crowned the Polish Open doubles champion and captured Joburg Open singles and doubles titles.
The world number 12 was emotional receiving the news of his award, “What a wonderful, emotional night! I am so grateful and honoured”.
“A big thank you to the MEC of sport, arts, culture and recreation Ms Faith Mazibuko and her team and Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) who travelled this journey with me,” said Maripa.
“Winning this award is so far the best feeling I have ever experienced in my life, it all brings back the memory of my late mother. I wish she was here to witness this special moment,” added Maripa.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa’s General Manager, Karen Losch said, “Evans Maripa is an outstanding wheelchair tennis player of his generation and today we celebrate this great recognition with him. We continue to be proud of our athletes for the hard work they put on court and grateful to the Gauteng Sports, arts, culture and recreation for recognizing their hard work”.
Maripa heads to the Open d'Amiens - Hauts de France today, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) level 1 tournament starting tomorrow in France.