Since becoming a professional rugby player, Kolisi, who hails from Zwide, in Port Elizabeth, has represented various South African teams – from the U20 side to the national team.
He’s had his greatest success in 2019, leading the Springboks to a Rugby World Cup victory in Yokohama, Japan, in November. This marked South Africa’s third World Cup win, tying with New Zealand. Kolisi, however, boasts being the first black captain of a World Cup-winning side.
Since the Springboks’ triumphant 32-12 victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final, Kolisi has been on the receiving end of many accolades and much international attention.
Latest: World Peace and Sport Champion award
The latest of these, is the prestigious World Peace and Sport Champion for 2019 award, which he received in Monaco on Thursday evening at the Peace and Sport Awards gala.
The award recognises an athlete who has led a significant and sustainable sport initiative towards peaceful change.
The list of nominees for 2019, included Kolisi, American footballer Carli Lloyd, Croatian tennis player Marin Čilić and French footballer Eric Abidal.
The humble Kolisi has since dedicated his award to the Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok squad.
Man on a mission – on and off the field
In an interview with AFP, Kolisi shared that while winning games is important, off-the-field achievements, such as the peace award are also significant.
“It’s a great honour and a privilege for me and it’s great to see people recognise people that use their voice and use their platform and do some work off the field as well and it will inspire people to do more. We’re not just sportsmen. We can do much more off the field.”
The 28-year-old did however also reveal that playing in a team makes it difficult for him to receive solo awards or recognition.
“You’re playing a team sport and that always makes it hard to get individual accolades because there are so many people around me that have helped me. Among my teammates, there are so many other leaders,” Kolisi said
“I don’t like taking all the credit because it’s not just me, the coaches, the physios, everybody adds value to anything the team achieves.”
‘I’m still on a high’
Following their World Cup triumph in Japan, Kolisi and the Sprinboks went on their celebratory Champions Tour through South Africa. The joy and support of audiences was very meaningful.
“It was also huge for me to go home and see the people back at home – how happy they were. I’m still on a high. Still happy. Enjoying every moment of this whole experience,” he said, before adding that he was eager to get back to just being a rugby player.
“I’m ready to start working and going to training. Going to training makes me excited because I want to achieve more, I want to do so much more. I need to make sure I perform come 2020.”