JOHANNESBURG – Two South African members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sam Ramsamy and Anant Singh have paid tribute to former Springbok rugby wing Chester Williams, who died of a heart attack on Friday.
"The passing of Chester Williams has come as a great shock to us. We are deeply saddened by his untimely death, especially as we personally knew him very well," Ramsamy and Singh said in a joint statement on Sunday.
"Chester was a trailblazer and pioneer in the transformation of the sport of rugby, and was the first black Springbok team member after [former president] Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.
"Always one to share his knowledge and talents, Chester took to coaching after retiring as a player. Notably, he coached the Blitzboks and Cats, and more recently he was the head coach at the University of the Western Cape, where under his leadership, the team won the Varsity Shield in 2017.
"Chester’s prowess on the rugby field was legendary, and he will be remembered as one of the greats of South African rugby and as a member of the 1995 World Cup-winning team. We send our heartfelt condolences to the Williams family and wish them strength during this difficult time," Ramsamy and Singh said.