Ahead of Monday’s 20th anniversary Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin (where the Springboks won the Laureus World Team of the Year Award), South African rugby legend Bryan Habana was inducted into the Laureus World Sports Academy.
Laureus Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick said: “Bryan was a world class rugby player and he has been an outstanding Ambassador and supporter for Laureus Sport for Good for the past decade.
“He believes in what we are trying to create in the Laureus World Sports Academy, and I’m looking forward to working with him in the future as we focus on using sport to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people around the word. Welcome to the team, Bryan.”
In accepting the honour, Bryan said:
“Named after two football legends, sport has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Whether being inspired by it, playing it or using it as a medium to give back. To be able to witness first hand both as a fan and as a player the power that sport has to bring about change, as big as I dreamt, I never in my wildest dreams imagined how much sport would impact my life.
“It is an incredible honour for me to become a Laureus Academy member, alongside sporting icons that are not only legends of the sporting world but have also brought so much joy to so many people across the globe, is something that I am extremely humbled by. The values which Laureus, its Academy and Ambassadors stand for, are values which I hold very dear to my heart. In my new role as an Academy member, I hope that I can continue making a difference, no matter how small, in children’s lives around the world.”
Bryan’s inspiration to play rugby began in 1995 when he watched Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar lift the Rugby World Cup together.
He was there, sitting in the stands at Ellis Park. And from that moment he “dared to dream and went on to become one of the most prolific try scorers the game has ever seen”, said Laureus.
In 2007, Bryan scored eight tries to help South Africa become the World Champions, equalling the All Black’s Jonah Lomu’s record for a single tournament.
Bryan has scored the second most Test tries in the world (67) and apart from being a World Champion, he has also won the Tri Nations, a British and Irish Lions Series and the European Champions Cup.
Bryan now joins the 68 current members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.
Laureus Sport for Good uses the power of sport to help young people overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage. Since 2000 it has helped change the lives of almost 6 million children and young people, and raised more than €150m for the Sport for Development sector.
The Sport for Good movement was inspired 20 years ago by Nelson Mandela when he said: “Sport has the power to change the world; to unite people in a way little else does.”