JOHANNESBURG — When Siya Kolisi ran on to the field at Ellis Park on 9 June for his 29th Test, the exploding fireworks provided an appropriate backdrop for an historic moment. South African rugby had come of age as a black player captained the national side for the first time. It was a hugely significant moment – one that could not have been imagined when the Springboks emerged from a decade of isolation. This was a team which, for much of its history, had been closed to anyone other than white. And now a man who would later address the post-match news conference in English and isiXhosa was at the helm. Whether the voting public who are now encouraged to vote for the Laureus Sporting Moment Award will appreciate that the mere act of running on to a sports field is worthy of an accolade which surpasses the achievements of a man with two prosthetic legs who climbed Everest is anyone’s guess. But, given the history of South African sport in a complex political environment and the enormity of what Kolisi has achieved, this is an honour that is richly deserved. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
Siya Kolisi’s inspirational rise from a childhood in the Zwide Township in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to become the first black Springbok Test captain has won the July Laureus Sporting Moment of the Month competition, after a vote by thousands of sports fans around the world.
Leading the team against England at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg in June, Kolisi wore the iconic No.6 jersey, the same number worn by President Nelson Mandela, the first Patron of Laureus, at the historic 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, at the same venue, which South Africa won.
Kolisi now becomes the fifth Nominee for the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year, joining March winners and ski jumping legends Sven Hannawald and Kamil Stoch, April winner Doddie Weir, Rochdale football star Joe Thompson, who won in May, and June’s winner, Chinese double-amputee Xia Boyu who climbed Mt Everest.
Each month, from March to December, the public can select their favourite Moment from a shortlist of four videos, chosen by the sporting legends of the Laureus World Sports Academy. Monthly winners will then go head-to-head in a final public vote, with the winner being announced at the 2019 Laureus Awards Ceremony.
The Laureus Sporting Moment Award demonstrates qualities such as fair play, sportsmanship, drama and dedication, and looks beyond the scoreboard or podium. They are emotional and inspirational moments, symbolising the true value of sport and bringing to life the message that sport has the power to change the world.
To view these emotional and engaging Moments and to VOTE for your favourite, visit myLaureus.com. Sports fans can also send videos that they have seen and enjoyed to myLaureus.com and they will be considered for shortlisting in future months.