By: Wadad hachichou
The world’s sports media have cast their votes and the Nominees for the landmark 20th Anniversary Laureus World Sports Awards have been confirmed. The greatest sportsmen, sportswomen and teams now have just over a month to wait to see if they have won a prestigious Laureus Statuette at the world’s pre-eminent international sports Awards Ceremony in Berlin on February 17.
Three-time Laureus Award winner and world No. 1 tennis star Rafael Nadal is in contention for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award alongside six-time Formula 1 World champion Lewis Hamilton, six-time World MotoGP champion Marc Márquez and six-time FIFA World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi. Also nominated are Eliud Kipchoge, the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours and golf legend Tiger Woods, who won his 15th Major Championship at The Masters.
In the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year category, FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball and Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe is joined by gymnastic great Simone Biles, track and field stars Allyson Felix and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the first Asian tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in the world, Naomi Osaka and US skiing great Mikaela Shiffrin.
FIFA Women’s World Cup champions United States Women’s Football Team and UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool FC are the football nominees in the Laureus World Team of the Year category. Joining them are six-time Formula 1 Drivers and Constructors World Champions Mercedes AMG Petronas, Rugby World Cup champions South Africa, the first Canadian team to win the NBA Championship Toronto Raptors and two-time FIBA World Cup winners Spain Men’s Basketball Team.
Teenage tennis sensation Coco Gauff is joined in the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year category by Canadian tennis player and the first woman to win the US Open on her debut Bianca Andreescu, Colombia’s first ever Tour de France winner Egan Bernal, Rugby World Cup trailblazers Japan Men’s Rugby Team, former unified heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr and US swimming star Regan Smith.
The Laureus World Comeback of the Year Nominees personify the true spirit, determination and tenacity of athletes who have overcome hurdles to return to the playing field. Andy Murray, who won his first ATP title in 31 months at the European Open following two hip operations, is in contention alongside UEFA Champions League semi-final comeback kings Liverpool, unusually nominated in two categories. Also nominated are 19-year-old German Formula 3 driver Sophia Flörsch, who returned to racing after her car hit a fence at 170mph during a race in 2018, Australian rugby star Christian Lealiifano who returned to represent his country in the Rugby World Cup after battling leukaemia, basketball star Kawhi Leonard, who overcame injury to help the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Championship and US swimmer Nathan Adrian who recovered from testicular cancer to win his 15th and 16th world titles.
Six of the highest achieving para-athletes of 2019 make up the Nominees for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award. Cuba’s Omara Durand, the world’s fastest female Paralympian in 2019, is joined by Dutch wheelchair tennis star Diede de Groot, US Paralympic skier and cyclist Oksana Masters, Dutch para-cyclist and para-triathlete Jetze Plat, Swiss marathon star and T54 800m world record breaker Manuela Schär and British seven-time para-swimming World Championships 2019 gold medallist Alice Tai.
In the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year category, world surfing champions Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore are joined by 2019 Action Sportsperson winner and snowboarding world champion Chloe Kim and 11-year-old Brazilian skateboarder Rayssa Leal, the youngest Nominee for the 2020 Laureus Awards. Also in contention for the Action Award are US skateboarding world champion Nyjah Huston and Canadian snowboarding star and slopestyle X-Games gold medallist Mark McMorris.
Sports fans can also have a say in the 20th anniversary Laureus World Sports Awards through the Laureus Sporting Moment: 2000 – 2020 public vote, which will celebrate the transformational power of sport and reinforce Laureus’ 20th anniversary message that ‘Sport Unites Us’. The Laureus Sporting Moment Award shortlists 20 sporting stories from the last 20 years that have left their mark on the world, exemplifying sporting values such as fair play, sportsmanship, humanity, overcoming adversity, dedication and the power to unite through sport – all key values of the Laureus movement. Sports can vote for their favourite of the 20 shortlisted moments now at laureus.com/vote.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during 2019, are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar. The winners, as voted for by the 68 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be unveiled at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on February 17.
It was at the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000 that Laureus Patron, Nelson Mandela, spoke the words which sparked the creation of the worldwide Sport for Good movement. 20 years on, these words still guide Laureus today – ‘Sport has the power to change the world; to unite people in a way little else does’. From sports stars to sports fans and the young people in Laureus Sport for Good programmes around the world: Sport Unites Us