Sebastian Vettel, Missy Franklin clinch top prizes at star-studded Laureus Awards
Kuala Lumpur: Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel and swimmer Missy Franklin today won World Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards respectively in a `starry night` at the Istana Budaya centre here, which saw a galaxy of luminaries from the world of sports and entertainment descending on a common platform.
At 26, Germany`s Vettel is the youngest four-time Formula One world champion. American swimming sensation, Missy, at 18, became the youngest ever winner of the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Tennis superstar and multiple Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal of Spain claimed the Comeback of the Year award while the World Breakthrough of the Year Awarde went to another Spaniard, Marc Marquez, for winning the World MotoGP Championship at just 20 years and 266 days.
Indian cricket legend Kapil Dev, one of the academy members of the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, was among the host of sporting lengends present at the event.
Indian NGO and Laureus Foundation`s strategic partner in the country, Magic Bus Foundation, bagged the Sport for Good award, which was received by Matthew Spacey.
German football giants Bayern Munich bagged the award in the Team of the Year category while France`s ski sensation Marie Bochet received the Disability Award.
BMX star Jamie Bestwick presented with Laureus Action Sports Award while the Afghanistan cricket team won the Laureus Spirit of Sport Award.
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar. The winners are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen.
Proceeds from the awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since its inception, it has raised millions for projects which have improved the lives of millions of young people.
Vettel`s success was particularly even more satisfying, for the young German racer had been nominated five times, before finally winning it. His fourth straight World Championship in 2013 saw him join motorsport legends such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost, who have all won on at least four occasions.
After her four gold medal-winning exploits at the London Olympics, Missy became the first woman swimmer in history to win six yellow metals at a single World Championships, in Barcelona last year. She continues to refuse prize money and endorsements so that she can maintain her amateur status in college, in the University of California at Berkley, where she is pursuing majors in Psychology.
Bayern Munich were presented with the Laureus World Team of the Year Award after becoming the first football club to complete the treble of UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup. Six of their players - Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger - were nominated for the FIFA Player of the Year.
Spaniard Nadal secured his third Laureus Statuette, returning after a seven-month absence because of injury to win the French Open and US Open titles and regain his No 1 world ranking.
There was also mention of the MH 370 air mishap and the event paid condolences to the ones who are reported to be no more and their bereaved families.
France`s Marie Bochet, aged 19, won the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award after becoming the first athlete to complete a Grand Slam of all five events at one Alpine Skiing World Championships.
The Laureus World Sports Academy presented two additional discretionary Awards. The Laureus Spirit of Sport Award was won by the Afghanistan Cricket Team, who qualified for the Cricket World Cup for the first time in their history, and the Laureus Sport for Good Award was presented to Magic Bus, the sports-based community project in India.
The awards ceremony was hosted by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Oscar and Grammy winner Jamie Foxx performed in front of the star-studded audience. German actor Daniel Bruhl, who played Niki Lauda in the film Rush, was present along with Chinese supermodel and actress Du Juan.
Eric Cantona, Fabio Capello, Dan Carter, Lee Chong Wei, David Coulthard, Johan Cruyff, Nicol David, Steve Waugh, Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg were among the host of sporting stars present at the event.
Among other guests present were Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Y B Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, Malaysia`s Minister for Youth and Sports and Y B Dato` Seri Mohamed Nazri, Minister of Tourism and Culture.
The Winners List:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Sebastian Vettel
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Missy Franklin
Laureus World Team of the Year: Bayern Munich
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Marc Marquez
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Rafael Nadal
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Marie Bochet
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Jamie Bestwick.