Boks, Siya Kolisi among Laureus World Sports Awards nominees

The Springboks are nominated for the Team of the Year award, while the Bok captain is a Comeback of the Year award nominee.

The record-breaking Springboks and captain Siya Kolisi are among the four South African representatives to be nominated for the 2024 Laureus World Sport Awards.

South African sport is celebrating after receiving four nominations for the 2024 Laureus World Sports Awards – the most prestigious honours in sport – following a vote by the world’s media.

Source: Laureus World Sports Awards.

The Springboks are nominated for this year’s Laureus World Team of the Year award following their momentous Rugby World Cup triumph over New Zealand in October. The captain of that side, Kolisi, is nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award, after recovering from a partial ligament tear to lead the Springboks to glory.

The Springboks became the first to win four Rugby World Cups by overcoming New Zealand 12-11 at the Stade de France. In a performance which epitomised the fighting spirit now synonymous with the side, the Springboks capped an outstanding tournament during which they battled past hosts France, and England, on their way to claiming back-to-back world titles.
Source: Laureus World Sports Awards.

Kolisi’s part in the Springboks’ success was even more remarkable due to the individual obstacles he had to overcome on the journey to that crowning moment. After a partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in April 2023, Kolisi’s world cup dream appeared to be over. However, unwilling to accept his fate, he underwent surgery before embarking on a punishing programme of physical rehabilitation and, just 119 days after the operation, Kolisi led his side out in their tournament opener against Scotland.

Source: Laureus World Sports Awards.

The Spain Women’s Football Team, who won their first World Cup; treble-winners Manchester City; the European Ryder Cup Team, following their dominant victory over their American counterparts; the all-conquering Oracle Red Bull Racing Team, who delivered a second straight Formula One World Constructors’ Championship, and the Germany Men’s Basketball Team, for their incredible FIBA Basketball World Cup victory, will also compete for the Team of the Year award.

Challenging Kolisi for the Comeback of the Year are gymnast Simone Biles, who collected four gold medals at the World Championships after taking time away from the spotlight to prioritise her mental health; Sébastien Haller, the Borussia Dortmund striker who returned to the pitch just months after being diagnosed with testicular cancer; Denver Nuggets basketball star Jamal Murray, who spent 18 months on the sidelines with an ACL tear before shining in the NBA play-offs; Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who bravely battled back from a series of injuries to win a heptathlon world title in Budapest, and tennis sensation Markéta Vondroušová, who became the lowest-ranked winner at Wimbledon during the Open era after missing most of the previous year with a wrist injury.

“This is such an overwhelming moment for me – to be nominated with the Springboks for Laureus Team of the Year, and also individually for Comeback of the Year,” Kolisi said.

“I know just what it means to win a Laureus Award. I was lucky enough to be captain of the Springboks in 2019 when we won the [Rugby] World Cup, and as a result the following year we won Laureus Team of the Year. I’m hoping we can win it again, as always it is a formidable group of teams nominated this year.

“It was a close thing whether I would recover from injury in time to play in the Rugby World Cup. I made it, so it’s a very special personal moment for me to receive my nomination.”

Six nominees have been selected in each category, and the names of the winners will be revealed on April 22, following a vote by the Laureus World Sports Academy – the world’s ultimate sports jury, made up of 69 of the greatest sporting legends of all time.

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