Nadal bags Laureus 'World Sportsman of the Year'

Updated: 08 February 2011 15:25 IST

Tennis ace Rafael Nadal's remarkable run in the season gone by helped him pip star footballers Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta for the 'World Sportsman of the Year' honour, while the World Cup winning Spanish football side walked away with the 'World Team of the Year' trophy at the Laureus World Sports Awards here on Monday.

Nadal bags Laureus 'World Sportsman of the Year'

Tennis ace Rafael Nadal's remarkable run in the season gone by helped him pip star footballers Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta for the 'World Sportsman of the Year' honour, while the World Cup winning Spanish football side walked away with the 'World Team of the Year' trophy at the Laureus World Sports Awards here on Monday.

The 'World Sportswoman of the Year' award went to American alpine skiier Lindsey Vonn, who beat off competition from Belgian tennis ace Kim Clijsters, who won a second straight US Open and four other events last year, Serena Williams, and world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki among others.

Vonn had secured her third straight skiing World Cup  and the Olympic Downhill gold medal last year.

World number one Nadal -- who completed a career slam last year by clinching the US Open, French Open and the Wimbledon to go with his 2009 Australian Open triumph -- walked away with the top honours by pipping pre-awards favourites Messi and Iniesta.

It was Nadal's second after the Laureus Breakthrough Award in 2006.

"Thank you very much for this," said the star who received the trophy from German tennis legend Boris Becker.

The Spanish celebrations did not end at that as their World Cup winning football side clinched the 'Team of the Year' honour ahead of Europe's Ryder Cup-winning team and the Italian football club Inter Milan -- which had won the treble of Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia last year --among others.

The Spanish team, however, could not make it to the awards ceremony because of training engagements for an international match.

French football legend Zinedine Zidane was presented the 'Lifetime Achievement' award "in recognition of his remarkable career.

The ace midfielder walked in to a standing ovation from the gathering and received the trophy from legendary Moroccan athlete Nawal El Moutawakel and English football legend Sir Bobby Charlton.

"Thank you to all those who voted for me. I have to thank (former France teammate) Marseille Desailly for all that he did for me. Today is February 7 and it has been 20 years since I got married, it's a special day for me," Zidane said in French, insisting speaking in English would be "too difficult" for him.

American Kelly Slater was presented with the 'Laureus Action Sports Award' for the third time, after winning a record 10th World Surfing Championship.

Young golfer Martin Kaymer was presented with the 'Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award' after winning the US PGA Championship.

The European Ryder Cup team fetched the 'Spirit of the Sports' award and the trophy was collected by Colin Montgomerie.

"It is a great honour to receive this award on behalf of golf, and also my wonderful team. We played with integrity and we showed sportsmanship, and those are two words that epitomise our game: integrity and sportsmanship," Montgomerie said.

Paying special tribute to former Ryder Cup captain Severiano Ballesteros who has been fighting cancer, Montgomerie said, "Congratulations to Rafael Nadal for his magnificent performances in the Grand Slams and also to Spain's World Cup squad. It was only for one guy that we won the Ryder Cup, and his name is Severiano Ballesteros, another famous Spanish sportsman."

Visually impaired skier and biathlete Verena Bentele picked up the 'Laureus Disability Award' after capturing five gold medals in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award went to Italy's seven-time motor cycle world champion Valentino Rossi, who returned to the track just 41 days after breaking his leg. Rossi, however, did not attend the ceremony.

The winners were voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy comprising 46 legendary sportspersons and the entire ceremony was hosted by double Oscar winner actor Kevin Spacey.

At the Awards Ceremony, Australian five-times motor cycle 500cc world champion Mick Doohan and five-times Olympic rowing gold medallist Steve Redgrave were elected to the Laureus World Sports Academy.

The glittering function featured a performance by Irish singer Ronan Keating and was also attended by Hollywood star Morgan Freeman and Portugese football great Luis Figo.

The winners:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Rafael Nadal
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Lindsey Vonn
Laureus World Team of the Year: Spain World Cup Team
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Martin Kaymer
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Valentino Rossi
Laureus World sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Verena Bentele
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Kelly Slater.

Topics : Tennis Novak Djokovic Lionel Andres Messi Andres Iniesta Lujan France Rafael Nadal
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