ITS RAINING awards for our South African Boks team.
Last night the 2019 Rugby World Cup champs were honoured with the most prestigious award- World Team of the Year at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin.
They outmuscled current Uefa champs and EPL winner -in-waiting Liverpool.
Captain fantastic Siya Kolisi, wearing a brace on his left knee following an injury and teammates were on hand to receive the award such as Faf de Klerk, Schalk Brits, Cheslin Kolbe and Francois Louw as well as new Bok coach Jacques Nienaber. RWC 2019 winning coach Rassie Erasmus, did not attend the ceremony.
“The real winners today are the five million kids and the lives that have been touched through the Laureus Foundation,” Kolisi said.
“To all the nominees and winners, you have all inspired myself and my teammates on our journey. When Mr Mandela spoke 20 years ago about the power of sport to unite, I can honestly say I felt it first-hand.
“In 1995 I was a bit too young to remember that win, but in this group we had Afrikaans speaking guys, Xhosa guys and guys from farms. We all lived through different challenges, but we came together because of the game that we love, which is rugby.
“We came together because we had one goal and we fought so hard for each other because our country at the time was going through such a difficult period. There was gender-based violence and xenophobia and our main goal was to come together and do the best we can in the sport we love.
“We gave everything we had and we not only saw South Africa come together when we brought back the trophy, but we inspired a lot of kids to live their dreams.
“Now a kid from the township, who didn’t have shoes to walk to school and who didn’t eat each day can stand here and be a Rugby World Cup-winning captain.
“Cheslin Kolbe has a beautiful story too. He has been told that he can’t make it so many times (because of his diminutive size) and he fought against that and now he is one of the best players in the world. Francois Louw comes from a family with a rich rugby heritage (Louw’s grandfather is former Bok and Western Province president Jan Pickard) and he had to fight a battle to make his own path.
“I want to say thank you to the guys who have done it before such as Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers (who were in Berlin) and also thank you on behalf of South Africa.
“To all sportsmen and women. Just keep on doing what you’re doing because it’s not just about you. There are people looking up to us and we touch people’s lives in ways that governments and politicians can’t.
“You can touch and change a child’s life even if you don’t know who he is or where he is from, but he looks at you and says: ‘one day I want to be like that.’ ”
US gymnast Simone Biles won Sportswoman of the Year for the third time, while F1 champion Lewis Hamilton and football great Lionel Messi shared the title of Sportsman of the Year.
Six-time Formula One world champion Hamilton and six-time Fifa World Player of the Year Messi were so close in terms of their achievements in 2019 that even the ultimate sporting jury, the Laureus World Sports Academy, could not split them, with the voting being tied for the first time in the 20-year history of the Laureus Awards.
Full list of winners:
- Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Lewis Hamilton and Lionel Messi
- Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Simone Biles
- Laureus World Team of the Year: South Africa Men’s Rugby Team
- Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Egan Bernal
- Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Sophia Flörsch
- Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oksana Masters
- Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Chloe Kim
- Laureus Best Sporting Moment: “Carried on the shoulders of a nation” – Sachin Tendulkar
- Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award: Dirk Nowitzki
- Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award: Spanish Basketball Federation
- Laureus Sport for Good Award: South Bronx United.
Image (Boks captain Siya Kolisi and teammates celebrate Laureus award last night in Berlin).