Laureus Sports Awards: Djokovic, Messi, McIlroy & Vettel nominated

Lionel Messi, Sebastian Vettel, Novak Djokovic and Rory McIlroy are among the nominees for the 2012 'sporting Oscars'

laureus awards
The winners will be announced on 6 February Photo: Getty Images for Laureus

laureus awards

With the “Oscars” of the sporting world heading to London in Olympic year, there was huge interest surrounding the announcement of the nominees for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in the capital this week.

The nominations are drawn from a ballot of journalists from 97 countries but the winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury, the 47 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy. Five of them””Lord Sebastian Coe, Boris Becker, Sean Fitzpatrick, Daley Thompson and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson””helped to reveal the nominees at Westminster’s Central Hall.

Lord Coe, with a foot in two 2012 camps””Laureus and the Olympics”” explained the significance of the event.

“This is a big compliment to London, to bring the Laureus Awards here. I think it’s really important that we bring the big events not just on the field of play but also these big moments that celebrate sporting achievement as well.”

The names in contention represent every type of sport””from athletics to motorsport, tennis to skiing, rugby to golf, surfing to cycling””and the categories are all-inclusive. And that is the feature of the Laureus Awards that Baroness Grey-Thompson was keen to highlight.

“Laureus is doing so much for athletes with disability, it makes a huge difference and it’s really good that we have separate sports men and women. We still need to do an awful lot to get women into sport, to stay in sport that’s why I think that category is very important, just like the disabled one.”

Such is the quality of the 2012 nominees, however, that no UK names have made it to the shortlists for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, but there is plenty for the 2012 host nation to celebrate in other categories.

The England Cricket Team make the World Team of the Year list of six, Mo Farah and Rory McIlroy make the Breakthrough of the Year category and the hugely popular golfer, Darren Clarke, who returned after the death of his wife to win the Open Championship, is one of the Comeback of the Year stars.

David Weir, winner of three gold medals in the IPC World Championships, is a UK presence in the Sportsperson with a Disability category and BMX star Jamie Bestwick, who came back from a fractured skull to win a fifth X Games gold, completes the UK tally.

One of the favourites for the Sportsman accolade””won in recent years by Rafael Nadal, Usain Bolt and Roger Federer””is Lionel Messi, nominated for a third straight year and aiming to be first team player to win the individual award. And his football club is also a contender: FC Barcelona is among the nominated teams for the fourth time.

If Messi has his work cut out against the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Novak Djokovic, Barcelona finds itself in a particularly competitive category against the All Blacks, who scored an emotional home victory in the Rugby World Cup, and the outstanding Red Bull Formula One Team, winners of the Constructors Championships for the second straight year.

Two individuals are nominated twice. Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova is up for both the Sportswoman of the Year and joins the Breakthrough category, while Oscar Pistorius makes a unique double entry: the “blade runner” athlete is in the Disabled category and, for becoming the first amputee to win a track medal in the non-disabled World Athletics Championships, is also in the Breakthrough category.

Multiple winners cannot, it seems, stop winning and wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer, who is unbeaten in singles in more than eight years, has a chance to take her third Laureus gong. And in surfing, three-time winner Kelly Slater is nominated once more for the Laureus Action Sports Award in recognition of his 11th world title at the age of 39.

And so to the complete list, summed up neatly by Daley Thompson: “As good as it gets in the world.”

Sportsman of the Year

Usain Bolt, Jamaica, athletics
Novak Djokovic, Serbia, tennis
Cadel Evans, Australia, cycling
Lionel Messi, Argentina, football
Kirk Nowitzki, Germany, basketball
Sebastian Vettel, Germany, motor racing

Sportswoman of the Year

Vivian Cheruiyot, Kenya, athletics
Maria Hofl-Riesch, German, alpine skiing
Carmelita Jeter, US, athletics
Petra Kvitova, Czech Rep, tennis
Homare Sawa, Japan, football
Yani Tseng, Taiwan, Golf

Team of the Year

All Blacks, New Zealand, rugby
FC Barcelona, Spain, football
Dallas Mavericks, US, basketball
England Cricket Team
Japan Women’s Football Team
Red Bull, Austria, motor racing

Breakthrough of the Year

Yohan Blake, Jamaica, athletics
Mo Farah, UK, athletics
Petra Kvitova, Czech Rep, tennis
Rory McIlroy, UK, golf
Li Na, China, tennis
Oscar Pistorius, S Africa, athletics

Comeback of the Year

Eric Abidal, France, football
Darren Clarke, UK, golf
Crusaders, New Zealand, rugby
Sergio Carcia, Spain, golf
Liu Xiang, China, athletics
Queensland Reds, Australia, rugby

Sportsperson with a Disability

Daniel Dias, Brazil, swimming
Terezinha Guilhermina, Brazil, athletics
Oscar Pistorius, S Africa, athletics
Esther Vergeer, Netherlands, wheelchair tennis
David Weir, UK, wheelchair athletics
Irek Zaripov, Russia, Nordic skiing

Action Sportsperson of the Year

Jamie Bestwick, UK, BMX
Philip Koster, Germany, windsurfing
Carissa Moore, US, surfing
Travis Rice, US, snowboarding
Kelly Slater, US, surfing
Shaun White, US, skateboarding/snowboarding

More details on each nominee can be found on the Laureus website. Winners will be unveiled at a televised Awards Ceremony in London on 6 February.

Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since its inception, Laureus has raised more than €40m for projects that have helped to improve the lives of more than 1.5 million young people. Currently Laureus supports 89 projects around the world.

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