Oscar “the blade runner” Pistorius, who competes on carbon fibre blades, was named Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability at the Laureus awards.
He said it had been a great privilege to be nominated and he thanked the Laureus Academy members, describing them as icons to athletes.
Pistorius had a phenomenal 2011, setting a personal best 400 metres time of 45.07 seconds in Italy. He also won silver as part of the South African 4x400m relay team in South Korea, to become the first amputee track athlete to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships.
Earlier at the global showpiece, the 25-year-old had also reached the semi-finals of the individual 400m sprint.
Pistorius also won gold in the 200m, 400m and 4x100m events at the Paralympic World Athletics Championships in New Zealand.
At the Paralympic World Cup, Pistorius smashed his own 400m record, with a time of 47.28 seconds.
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Sascoc president Gideon Sam congratulated Pistorius for winning the award.
He said Pistorius would be one of the key weapons in South Africa’s battle to win even more medals at the Paralympics. He described Pistorius as a fine ambassador for the country and a role-model to athletes.
Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy said his winning the award was a huge boost for South African sport.
At the 2012 Laureus awards, which recognised athletes for performances in the 2011 calendar year, the disabled South African sprinter held off challenges from Brazilians Daniel Dias (swimming) and Terezinha Guilhermina (athletics), Dutch wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer, British wheelchair athlete David Weir and Russian skier Irek Zaripov.
Serbian tennis star, Novak Djokovic was named Sportsman of the Year and Kenyan distance runner Vivian Cheruiyot Sportswoman of the Year.