Cape Town - Ahead of Monday's landmark 20th anniversary Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin, South African rugby legend Bryan Habana has been inducted into the Laureus World Sports Academy.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest rugby players of all time, Habana was inspired to take up the sport when he saw Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar lifting the Rugby World Cup in 1995.
Sitting in the stands at Ellis Park, he dared to dream and went on to become one of the most prolific try scorers the game has ever seen.
Bryan was the star of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, scoring eight tries to help his country become World Champions, equalling Jonah Lomu's single tournament record in the process. His efforts led to him being named 2007 IRB World Player of the Year.
With 67 Test tries, Habana is second in the all-time international try scoring list. As well becoming a World Champion, he has won the Tri Nations, a British and Irish Lions Series and the European Champions Cup.
In 2009, Habana was announced as an Ambassador for Laureus Sport for Good and in the past decade he has visited programmes around the world, raising both awareness and funds to support the transformational work of these programmes.
Habana joins the 68 current members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.
"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," Habana said.
"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.
Laureus Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick welcomed Habana to the family.
"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," he said.