Laureus World Sports Awards 2016.

The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year and raises awareness of the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The Laureus World Sports Awards supports Laureus Sport for Good by showcasing the incredible work it does to transform the lives of individuals and communities around the world by using the power of sport as a tool to combat challenging social issues. Since its inception, Laureus Sport for Good has raised over €100 million and supported over 150 projects worldwide which use sport to tackle violence, discrimination and disadvantage.

Surfers in the sea in South Africa.

Surfing towards a better future.

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation supports young surfing talent in South Africa with the “YES” programme.

Sports are Apish’s life.

Apish Tshetsha is driving his lime green van with surf board attached to the roof, weaving his way down the main street in the Masiphumelele township in central Cape Town. It’s Freedom Day, celebrations are taking place and the community is a hive of activity. The softly spoken 26-year-old comes to life as he drives through the community, his van stopping every five or so metres as a young member of the community greets Apish. ‘Awe!’ he shouts to his friends and community members. After minutes in his company, you sense that to Apish, sport is life.

Apish Tshetsha and youngsters enjoy training with Laureus.

He waxes lyrical about the football teams he supports and his Springbok heroes, the South African rugby union team, but much of his time is taken up by his newfound love of surfing.

A race on the beach in wetsuits.

Stability for young people.

Three years ago, Apish couldn’t swim. “I can do a few lengths of the pool now”, he laughs. Through the Laureus “YES” (Youth Empowerment through Sport) programme, Apish was introduced to an award-winning social entrepreneur called Tim Conibear, who was trialling a programme called “Waves for Change”, using the sport of surfing to help stabilise young people affected by emotional and psychological trauma. Tim said: “Apish had a pretty tricky childhood, growing up pretty much alone. He is fiercely independent but also quite a vulnerable soul and when I met him he had been unemployed for quite a long time. He loved his sport but he didn’t have many formal skills to work with. He’s done brilliantly, he’s now a trained youth care worker”.

“YES” changes their entire life.

Tim introduced Apish to surfing and the 26-year-old has not looked back since. He completed his youth care worker training and progressed through the Laureus “YES” programme, learning a variety of life and social skills along the way, as well as developing his confidence as a public speaker.

Group picture with kids involved in the project and big wave Surfer Sebastian Steudtner.

“The ‘YES’ programme came at the right time for me”, Apish reflects. “When you’re a young person and you’re a bit confused about your future, ‘YES’ really changes your life. We were taught everything there; health lifestyle, sexual identity, goal setting and also the generous things you can do in your community to influence change”.

The norms of the township.

Drugs, peer pressure, gangs and staying away from the wrong crowds. Apish highlights the struggles he faced as a youngster. “It’s tough because of the things that go on, the challenges of society; you have to live by the norms of the township where there are drugs, alcohol, teenage pregnancy and gangs. Peer pressure is tough but luckily I’ve never been involved in those things, I’ve always tried to keep myself busy with sport”. Apish used his hard work on the football field to keep a focus in his life and help him concentrate on his studies, keeping him away from falling in with the wrong crowd.

A race on the beach in wetsuits.

“I would spend my whole day playing sport and at night I would be with my books studying, so sport and education have made me who I am, even in terms of my values as well. You don’t want to disappoint your elders, your family and the young people as well because role models are so, so rare in the township, especially for young people”.

Children enjoy training with Laureus.

Playing and exploring.

 “When you’re old at least you can be influenced by media and role models on TV or in magazines but when you’re young you want to play and explore and you’re faced with choices”. To say the 26-year-old is a role model would be an understatement. Apish has introduced the sport of surfing to the football-loving youngsters living in Masiphumelele. Through the “Waves for Change” programme, surfing has become a sport of the community today. “It feels great to mentor other people, knowing that you make a difference”, he states proudly. “With young people who are still stumbling, they maybe cannot see now what impact ‘Waves for Change’ has for them, in a couple of years to come they might be grateful that they were part of Waves for Change. Maybe in 10 years, they’ll look back and say ‘Thank you Apish!’”.

Nothing is impossible.

The Laureus “YES” programme empowers young people from community sports organisations to become the future leaders of the “sport for good” movement. Through the “YES” programme, young people are given the information and tools to take back to their communities and pass on. Judging by the youngsters of Masiphumelele, many of them are already thanking Apish Tshetsha. Through sport, Apish was given a chance and an opportunity to pave his own path, one which he grabbed with both hands. When asked if he has one message for the youngsters in his community and other communities around the world, Apish doesn’t hesitate.

Group picture of the children and their supervisors.

“I would say if I had one thing to tell young people it would be, please, hold on to Nelson Mandela’s legacy. What Laureus is doing now is the true definition of what Mandela meant when he said: ‘Nothing is impossible’”.


Charl Jensel oversees the work of the “Indigo Youth Movement” in South Africa, a programme supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which teaches life skills through the sport of skateboarding.

Skateboarding is life.

Charl Jensel oversees the work of the “Indigo Youth Movement” in South Africa, a programme supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which teaches life skills through the sport of skateboarding.

A sport with addictivity.

Standing at over six feet tall, 27-year-old Charl Jensel wears a broad smile and an afro hairstyle. Five minutes into our conversation, he’s grinning, cracking jokes and appearing to be content and motivated by the sport he loves. “When you set foot on a skateboard you want to do something”, he enthuses. “You see an amazing trick and you want to do it yourself. That creates goals in you, man. You get addicted to it and there’s no going back to your old life”. The old life Charl speaks about was tough. He grew up in Cape Flats in South Africa’s Western Cape and, like many of the youngsters around him, staying in school was a struggle. He found himself mixing with the wrong crowd, dropping out of education and falling into trouble.

Big wave surfer Sebastian Steudtner films a boy doing a jump on his skateboard.

“In my community today, kids drop out of school like nothing you could imagine”, he says. “Drugs and gangs rule the streets. They’re the most dominant role models encouraging kids to do negative things”.

Group picture with surfer Sebastian Steudtner, Charl Jensel and other supervisors with some children in Laureus shirts.

Charl as a big brother of the programme.

Charl describes himself as one of the lucky ones. Skateboarding saved him. Today, he oversees the work of the “Indigo Youth Movement” in the Western Cape, a programme supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which teaches life skills through the sport of skateboarding in both Durban and the Western Cape in South Africa. In the communities in which the programme runs – mostly densely populated township areas – life is tough and sport is powerful. “There are very few role models in these communities and there are so many negative distractions so the programme is so important. I have a lot of kids telling me if it wasn’t for skating and for this programme that they would have been in trouble today”. Charl goes on to provide proof. He sees himself as a “big brother” for the youngsters in the programme and talks candidly about an incident which happened recently.

“A sixteen-year-old kid got shot dead.”

“A sixteen-year-old kid got shot dead, he was part of the programme”, says Charl, his voice suddenly sombre. “About a month or so before it happened he started missing sessions at the programme and hanging around with the wrong people. At the moment a gang war is taking place in our communities. He got shot down on the spot, mistaken for someone else.”

Trust exercise: blindfolded children are lead through an obstacle course built of skateboards.

Charl continues: “The kid who got buried that day, he was only 16 years old. Teachers and parents from his school were there at the funeral. He was one of the kids I actually got back into school. Kids know, if you’re not in the programme, you can get into trouble. We’re getting to that point here in South Africa I think”.

Trust exercise: blindfolded children are lead through an obstacle course built of skateboards.

A vision for his life.

“I started on the kerbs, man”, Charl says, discussing his first footsteps on a skateboard. Skating gave him goals, an opportunity and a way out of the community he was in. Although he dropped out of high school, Charl had a goal and a vision in life to be the best skateboarder he could be. Working at a local skate park, Charl was living his dream, skating every day. “I thought I was going to work there for the rest of my life. The fact I am sitting where I am today is a testament to the power sport has to change”. Top South African skateboarder Dallas Oberholzer, who ran the “Indigo Youth Movement” in Durban, got in touch and asked him to start something positive in his own community. At first, he declined. “I had a closed mindset; I didn’t think skateboarding was a sport, I didn’t realise the power it had”. After a visit to meet Dallas, Charl’s eyes were opened, his mind was made up, he was going to start giving back and making a difference. “I saw the movement, I saw the programme in action and the respect the kids had for each other and for their elders. This was what was needed where I come from, that’s what is lacking, there is no discipline and that’s when I told them that I’d get involved. I wanted to make a change”.

Valuable life lessons.

Through being involved in Indigo, Charl was involved in the Laureus “Youth Empowerment through Sport” (YES) programme, an initiative to empower young people to become leaders, teaching valuable life lessons through sport. Through his shift in mindset, Charl himself returned to education. Growing as a skateboarder and mentor to young people, his eyes were opened up to the opportunities around him. “I felt like there was something missing”, he recalls. After speaking with his parents, he received the support he needed and returned to college to complete his studies, two years after setting foot on a skateboard. Although he’s in charge of a sports programme, Charl’s role reaches further than the half-pipes of skate parks.

Two children smile happily into the camera and hug.

“Yesterday, one of the kids asked me to help get him back in school. I missed 70 days of school when I was younger and now I’m telling everyone in the project to stay in education, all because of skateboarding”.

Tony Hawk doing a one-handed handstand while holding the skateboard with his other hand.

Tony Hawk is thrilled by the programme.

Laureus Academy Member and Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk has a special affiliation to the “Indigo Youth Movement”, visiting the project on two occasions to find out first-hand the impact it is having on young people in the local community. Hawk said: “It was very inspiring to see the kids that live in these little villages and have the option to go and do something as different as skateboarding and see how they embrace it. They really love the challenge of it, they love the action, they love the exercise and it was fun to see how they interpret skating. It gives them self-esteem, helps them in their careers. I also think just the act of skating can teach so much about self-confidence, self-motivation and overcoming your own challenges, as opposed to only participating in team sports, where you are relying on the team or relying on the coach to tell you what to do. That is an important aspect of maturing, but I think the idea that skating is as much a form of self-expression as it is a sport and an art form is as important as well”.

Hopes, dreams and a way out.

Charl is philosophical about the future of the programme and his goals and aspirations for the young people in the communities he works with. “I’m just stoked that I can change these kids’ lives. They learn things every day and that’s very important, that’s how you grow. These kids would honestly have been lost, they would have had nothing without the programme, now they’ve got hopes and dreams and a way out”.

Two boys in helmets watch what’s happening.


Premiere: Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin.

The Laureus World Sports Awards are to be presented in Germany for the first time – on 18 April 2016 in Berlin. With anticipation of the event, the brand ambassadors Jens Lehmann and Kathi Wörndl give insights into their motivation and their link to the foundation.

Picture of the Laureus Award trophy.

Nominations for the 2016 Laureus World Sports Awards.

Representatives of the international media have had their say and nominated some of the biggest and most impressive names in sport for the 2016 Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin.

“Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award”.

The “Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award” promises to be one of the hottest battles we’ve ever seen. Among the nominated athletes are: three-time Laureus victor Usain Bolt, as well as the number one from the world tennis rankings, Novak Djoković, not to mention three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, and Lionel Messi, five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or. Completing the line-up in this category are NBA star Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors and the number one from the golfing world, Jordan Spieth, who are both nominated for a Laureus Award for the first time.

Picture of the nominated athletes for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.
Picture of the nominated athletes for the

“Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award”.

After an impressive 2015, in which Serena Williams celebrated three Grand Slam wins, the American tennis legend has again been nominated for the “Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award”. With a total of ten Laureus nominations, she’s set a new record. Following an amazing season, the Austrian ski racer Anna Fenninger is also nominated in this category. Talking of her nomination, Fenninger said: “Being nominated for this prestigious award in the sports world is not only a great honour for me but it also leaves me with a good feeling. I can still remember when Hermann Maier received the Laureus in 2004 for the Comeback of the Year. That was a truly special achievement for Austria”.

Picture of the nominated athletes for the

“Laureus World Team of the Year Award”.

In a further, toughly contested category, the Formula 1 MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team can look forward to their second nomination in a row for the “Laureus World Team of the Year Award”. Toto Wolff, Head of Motorsports at Mercedes-Benz, emphasis: “For MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, it's a real honour to again be nominated for a Laureus World Sports Award in the Team of the Year category. We know that the competition here is just as good as on the race track”.

Equally in the running for this award are the winners of the Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks from New Zealand, as well as Champions League winners FC Barcelona, NBA champions the Golden State Warriors, the British Davis Cup team and the US national ladies football team, who secured their third world championship title.

Picture of the nominated athletes for the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award.

“Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award”.

After his fantastic year, Jan Frodeno, known among other things for his victory at the Ironman competition on Hawaii, is the first triathlete to have been crowned both world champion and Olympic gold winner. Thus, it’s only right for him to be nominated in the category for the “Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award”. Speaking about his nomination, Frodeno said: “After so many years in which I strived to win a world title, I’m now really thrilled to have finally managed it. Records are there to be broken or beaten. A nomination for a Laureus Award is a truly sensational chapter in the book of my life. It’s the biggest stage in the sporting world and with a nomination, you’re allowed to be part of a scene featuring some of the biggest sporting stars from around the world”.

A multitude of disciplines.

Two sports personalities are nominated in two categories: surfer Mick Fanning (in the Action and Comeback categories) and golfer Jordan Spieth (in the Sportsman and Breakthrough categories). Alongside Fanning in the category “Laureus World Comeback of the Year”, some other big names are also nominated: World Rugby Player of the Year Dan Carter; heptathlon world champion Jessica Ennis-Hill; Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympic athlete of all time; David Rudisha from Kenya, world champion in the 800 metres; and America’s skiing legend Lindsey Vonn. Among the nominees for the “Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award” are two former victors: Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias who received the award in 2009 and 2013, and the French Alpine skier Marie Bochet.

Picture of the nominated athletes for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.

Bochet won the Laureus Award in 2014 and has twice won gold in all five of the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championship disciplines. More detailed biographies of the nominated sportsmen and sportswomen can be found here.

Picture showing the Laureus Award trophy in Front of the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin.

Premiere in Germany.

This year will see the Laureus World Sports Awards being presented for the 17th time. They celebrate top sporting performance from 2015 and are the most coveted awards in the international sporting calendar. It is the first time that the awards ceremony will be held in Germany. The winners will be selected by the Laureus World Sports Academy, a tough jury consisting of 55 of the best sports personalities of all time. The awards ceremony will be held on the evening of Monday 18 April in the Palais am Funkturm at Berlin’s exhibition centre and will be broadcast worldwide on television.