Rugby star Wian Conradie was delighted to win the gold medal for the University of Johannesburg student-athlete of the year award after coming close in previous years.
The 24-year-old flank, who played for Namibia in the 2015 World Cup, was recognised for his efforts on an academic front after averaging 79.2% for his quantity surveying course.
Having also represented the first rugby team in the Varsity Cup, this led to him receiving the award after silver and bronze medals in previous years in the category.
At the varsity’s annual awards gala function in October he also took the silver medal in the sportsman of the year category.
The criteria for the student-athlete award are a combination of what a student achieves academically and the highest sporting level reached.
Although rugby is a big part of his life, Conradie said it was his intention from the outset to get a qualification.
“It was quite hard juggling all my commitments,” he said. “I used to have to go gym in the morning and then spend the day in classes before focusing again on rugby practice in the afternoon.
“But I received a lot of support from my mentors at UJ and, in the end, it was all worth it.”
Conradie has left UJ and is now looking ahead to a professional career in rugby. But he has special memories of his days in Johannesburg.
“Playing under coach Werner Janse van Rensburg was a great privilege and we worked hard from day one, placing massive focus on our fitness.
“From coming to Johannesburg when I knew absolutely no one to making so many friends means it has been a really special journey for me.”