Monday, 7 February 2011

Rafael Nadal - Laureus Sportsman of The Year 2011

And he only went on to WIN IT!!!!!

Courtesy: SMH

Spain, the United States and Germany have dominated the proceedings at the 2011 Laureus Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi.

Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal took out the world sportsman of the year prize at the glitzy award ceremony while American skiier Lindsey Vonn overcame a trio of women's tennis players to win the world sportswoman of the year prize.

Nadal was a no-brainer for the awards committee, his three grand slam tournament wins in 2010 easily enough to claim his second Laureus award ahead of footballers Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, basketballer Kobe Bryant and Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Vonn, who won her third straight skiing World Cup and the Olympic downhill gold medal in 2010, overcame tennis stars Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki as well as athletics stars Jessica Ennis and Blanka Vlasic for the sportswoman prize.

Spain's World Cup winning football team made it a double for the Iberians by beating Mark Webber's Red Bull Racing Formula One outfit for the world team of the year honour.

And it was a double for the United States too, with iconic surfer Kelly Slater's 10th world championship enough for him to defeat Australian women's world champion Stephanie Gilmore for the world action sportsperson gong.

Germany also had two winners on the night, with golfer Martin Kaymer awarded the world breakthrough of the year prize while visually impaired skiier and biathlete Verena Bentele won a Laureus disability award in which Australian swimmer Matt Cowdrey was a nominee.

There was some reason to celebrate for Australia with former 500cc motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan joining five-time Olympic gold medallist Steve Redgrave as the newest members of the Laureus world sports academy.

Other award winners on the night were Italian motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi and French football icon Zinedine Zidane.

Rossi won the world comeback of the year award after his return to competition just 41 days after breaking his leg during practice for last year's Italian MotoGP event.

Zidane, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, received a Laureus lifetime achievement award during the ceremony, hosted by Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey.

Europe's Ryder Cup team won the Laureus spirit of sport prize while Beirut marathon founder May El-Khalil won the Laureus sport for good award.

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