World Cup-winning Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says he wants to offer inspiration but avoid the pitfalls of fame.
The 28-year-old Kolisi became the first black captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup when he led South Africa to an unlikely yet inspiring World Cup triumph in November.
Speaking to AFP in Monaco, where he collected the Champion of Peace award on Thursday, Kolisi insisted that he still has his feet firmly on the ground.
‘I’m still on a high, still happy. Enjoying every moment of this whole experience. I want to achieve more, I want to do so much more,’ he said.
‘The more you start seeing yourself as this amazing hero or amazing person, that’s when you stumble over your feet.’
Since the World Cup, the awards have come in thick and fast for the Springbok players and Kolisi says winning this one at the annual awards ceremony of the Sports and Peace organisation will allow him to do more good in local communities.
‘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.
‘I love that the kids now know where I come from and that if they struggle, they can make it. I’m still a person that can make mistakes but I try and do my best to inspire as many people as I can and I’m grateful they see me as a role model.’
Yet he also expressed some ambivalence about receiving awards.
‘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 team mates there are so many other leaders. 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.’
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