World champion Boks scoop Laureus award
Racing driver Hamilton and football superstar Messi share top sportsman prize
Berlin — The Springboks were named the team of the year at the Laureus award ceremony in Berlin on Monday while Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and football superstar Lionel Messi shared the sportsman of the year award.
The Boks, who won the 2019 Rugby World Cup, beat Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and the US women’s football team.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was joined on stage by six SA teammates 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 children for generations to come.”
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 that 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 world 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,” Biles said in a video message.
Snowboarding sensation Chloe Kim, 19, won the action sportsperson award after taking gold medals at the world championship half-pipe and X Games superpipe.
Oksana Masters, who was born with limb impairments caused by radiation from Chernobyl and was 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 and also 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 Formula Three 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 World Cup at the sixth attempt.
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