We nominated Beast, Mapimpi and Kolisi for Laureus World Sports Awards
Our wild card nomination is Durban-based swimming champion Erin Gallagher.
Nominations opened this week for the 20th anniversary of the prestigious global awards with world media invited to make submissions.
The awards cover 18 sports with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (football), Rafael Nadal (tennis), Lewis Hamilton (motor racing) and Marc Marquez (motor cycling) often in the nomination line-up.
This week, chairperson of the Laureus World Sports Academy and former All Blacks rugby captain Sean Fitzpatrick, confirmed the 2020 Awards ceremony to celebrate the best 2019 sport achievements will be held in Berlin on February 17.
“Berlin is the perfect host for our landmark 2020 Awards, reflecting our belief that ‘Sport Unites Us’.
“Inspired by the words of our founding patron, Nelson Mandela, who said at the very first awards, ‘Sport has the power to change the world to unite in a way that little else does’,” said Fitzpatrick.
First up was the Team of the Year Award - with the obvious nomination being for the Springboks who brought glory back to South Africa after a resounding win over England in a thrilling Rugby World Cup final.
Led by the country’s first black captain, Siya Kolisi, the Boks beat England by 32-12 in the final to win their third Rugby World Cup, a feat only matched by the All Blacks.
It was a massively symbolic win for the country which brought together all communities. Kolisi said: “We can achieve anything if we work together as one.”
For Sportsman of the Year, the Independent on Saturday nominated two RWC players: Kolisi, for leading the team and bringing back that winning feeling to all South Africans, and Mtawarira, the front row “power” player in the final where scrumming by a rampaging South African pack saw England conceding penalties, particularly by Mtawarira’s opponent.
Mtawarira’s performance was described as “monumental” in securing victory for the Springboks.
After the match, the Bok legend announced his retirement, ending a superb career which included 117 Tests, most capped prop in the Springboks, 159 appearances for a SA Vodacom Super Rugby, as well as winning the World Cup (2019), Rugby Championship (2019), Tri-Nations 2009, a series against the British & Irish Lions (2009) and the Currie Cup (2008, 2010 and 2013).
Bok wing and Sharks player, Makazole Mapimpi, created his own moment of break-out glory in the final with his sensational try, at the same time becoming the first player in Springbok history to score a try in a final. The Springboks' previous World Cup wins were without tries.
In a brilliant run with English defenders closing in at pace, Mapimpi chipped a perfectly weighted kick which was expertly caught by Lukhanyo Am. Without a sidewards glance and in one flowing movement, Am passed the ball back to Mapimpi who cruised over the tryline.
Mapimpi ended his RWC campaign as a joint-top try-scorer (alongside Wales’ Josh Adams) with six tries, taking his overall career tally to 14 tries in 14 Tests.
Our tick for the Sportswoman of the Year award went to Gallagher, who bagged 10 medals - eight gold and two silver - at the All Africa Games in Morocco this year, also achieving South African records in the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly.
Those added to the two African records the 20-year-old has for the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
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