BERLIN, Feb 18 — Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and football superstar Lionel Messi shared the Laureus sportsman of the year award at yesterday’s ceremony in Berlin.
Hamilton, 35, a six-time world champion and Barcelona star Messi, 32, share the award for their achievements in 2019.
This is the first time a footballer has won the award and also the first occasion in the event’s 20-year history when the jury reached a tied decision.
“I am honoured to be the first to win this award being a sportsperson coming from a team sport,” Messi said from Barcelona via a video message.
US gymnastics superstar Simone Biles, who won five titles at the 2019 world championships in Stuttgart to leave her with a record 25 worlds gold medals, took the Laureus sportswoman of the year award for the third time.
“It means the world to me, this is my third Laureus award and I’m really grateful,” said Biles in a video message.
South Africa, who won the 2019 World Cup, were named team of the year, beating Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and the US women’s football team.
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi was joined on stage by six South African team-mates to collect the trophy.
“With this group of players, we came together for the love of the game with one goal and fought so hard for each other,” Kolisi told the audience in Berlin.
“We gave everything we had to win the trophy and hopefully inspire kids for generations to come.”
Snowboarding sensation Chloe Kim, 19, won the action sportsperson award after taking gold medals at the world championship halfpipe and X Games super pipe.
Oksana Masters, who born with limb impairments caused by radiation from Chernobyl and later adopted in the US, won the sportsperson with a disability award.
The 30-year-old won five gold medals and a silver at the world para nordic skiing championships, plus took the cross-country overall world cup title.
She also won silver medals in the road race and time trial H5 at the para cycling road world championships.
Colombia’s Egan Bernal, 22, who became the youngest rider to win the Tour de France for 110 years, won the breakthrough award after winning the world’s top cycling race in what was only his second three-week classic event.
“I’m really happy, this is a big result for me in my career,” the Colombian said in a video.
German F3 driver Sophia Floersch scooped the comeback of the year award for racing once again at the Macau Grand Prix last November, a year after a crash on the same circuit left her with a spinal fracture.
Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar won the public vote for the top sporting moment over the last 20 years for leading his country to victory at the 2011 ICC World Cup at the sixth attempt.
Germany’s basketball star Dirk Nowitzki was recognised with the lifetime achievement award. — AFP