Cape Town - Springbok Sevens star Cheslin Kolbe says he returns to South Africa with great memories of his time at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Team SA’s rugby sevens team was one of the top performers during the sporting code’s debut at the Olympic Games last week. Despite falling short against Great Britain in the semi-final, the Blitzboks proved their pedigree with a massive 54-14 win over Japan to secure the bronze medal.
Kolbe, who was one of the squad members, said he was delighted to return to South Africa with a special prize.
“The Olympics was an amazing experience. I can’t really describe it in words. You have to be there to witness the Games and the culture to realise how special it really is,” Kolbe told MyPlayers.
“As a team, we were aiming for gold. So we were disappointed that we didn’t go all the way. However, bronze is still an amazing achievement. To come back home with an Olympic medal is something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
Kolbe previously represented Team South Africa at a multi-sport event as he played for the SA Under-18 sevens side at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man. That year, the team claimed a silver medal.
“I still remember that event. I had a great time at the Commonwealth Youth Games back then. As a youngster, I enjoyed the culture of rubbing shoulders with some of the best sports stars from around the world. The Olympics was obviously a much bigger stage and I managed to make more special memories.”
Kolbe added that he got to watch his cousin, Olympic hero Wayde van Niekerk, during the 400m semi-final heats. Van Niekerk went on to win gold with a record-breaking time of 43.03 in the 400m final.
“I didn’t get to watch as many sporting codes as I wanted to, but I did have the time to watch a few other events. Watching Wayde in the semis was really special,” said Kolbe. “I’m very proud of him. Not only for his personal achievements... he’s done something really amazing for all South Africans. The entire country is so, so proud of him, which is great to see.”
Kolbe has since re-joined the Western Province squad for the Currie Cup, which enters its third round this weekend. The 22-year-old is excited to make a successful return to 15s rugby.
“I had a great time with the sevens team. They’re an amazing bunch of players and I always enjoy representing my country at the highest levels,” said Kolbe. “I now turn my focus back to 15s. It’s nice to be back home at Newlands with the WP boys.
“We have an exciting squad of players. We have the team to chase the domestic title and I’m hoping I can add a valuable contribution during the competition.”
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