In 2006 the South Africa’s premier accolade for achievement by women went to Esther Watson when she was named overall winner of the Shoprite Checkers/ SABC2 Woman of the Year 2006. Esther, who was also the winner of the sport category of the Award, is the organiser of the first ever half marathon to be organised in South Africa exclusively for persons in wheelchairs, hand cycles and certain cerebral palsy tri-cycles. Since inception six years ago the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge has grown in leaps and bounds to become a full marathon, half marathon, 10km and Fun event with the marathon on the international calendar attracting athlete participation from Australia, France, USA, Switzerland, Austria, Zimbabwe, Canada and Scotland.
Ms Watson, a community occupational therapist with no experience in event management, managed to organize this hugely successful event in the first year with the help of 4 voluntary committee members. Although the unique event is still in its infancy stage, it expanded into one of the highlights on the South African sporting calendar for persons with disabilities. By taking the initiative to launch and stage this event annually Ms Watson has made a significant difference in the lives of people not only with disabilities but she has also raised awareness under able-bodied persons with regards to the needs, strong qualities and sport for persons with disabilities. She ensured the inclusion of all levels of the community, business, NGO’s and the private sector to put the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge on the South African events map.
Due to the high standard quality work done by the finalists judges deliberated for several hours before deciding on Ms Watson as the overall winner. Judge Lucy Mailula, chair of the panel of judges, said of the winners, finalists and all the nominees that they have proved that South African women from all walks of life are doing sterling work for the country. “It is fantastic that the Shoprite Checkers/SABC2 Woman of the Year Award showcase these unsung heroines as they are truly role models to the young women and girls in South Africa. The achievements of this year’s winners is inspiring and worthy of the nation to celebrate.
Three finalists have been announced in each of the five categories of the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award.
The names of the judges who will select this year's Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year, have been announced.
As the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award enters its judging phase, the winners of 2011 tell of how they are utilizing the prize money received from the Shoprite Group of Companies, to enhance their work and build a better future for the people of South Africa.
Women of the Year Office
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