Kenya’s extraordinary distance runner Vivian Cheruiyot was awarded the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award for 2011 and South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius was presented with the Laureus Disability Award at an awards ceremony held at Central Hall, Westminster, London last night.
Last year, the 29-year-old became the second woman to ever capture a 5000m/10,000m double victory at a World Championships with her outstanding performances in Daegu, having earlier won the World Cross-Country Championship in Punta Umbria, Spain.
Cheruiyot also produced world-leading times in the 3000m and 5000m whilst capping an undefeated season in the Samsung Diamond League competition, by taking home the 5000m Diamond Race Trophy.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during 2011, was hosted by Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe winner Clive Owen and attended by guests from the worlds of sport and entertainment.
The awards, chosen by a panel of established and legendary sports stars, comes as a relief to Cheruiyot after she missed out on the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award to Australia’s Sally Pearson.
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, also called the ‘Blade Runner’ because he uses carbon fibre blades, was presented with the Laureus Disability Award, after becoming the first amputee to win a track medal in the non-disabled World Championships, a silver in the 4 x 400 metres relay.
The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy present were: Giacomo Agostini, Boris Becker, Sergey Bubka, Nadia Comaneci, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Mick Doohan, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Tony Hawk, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Edwin Moses, Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Steve Redgrave, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh and Katarina Witt.
The Laureus World Sports Awards
is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 47 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony, attended by global figures from sport and entertainment, which is broadcast to 120 countries and territories.
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports 91 community sports projects in 34 countries around the world, including five in London.
Since its inception, Laureus has raised €40 million for projects which have improved the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people.
The 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards have had the support of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Mr Cameron said: "I am delighted that the Laureus World Sports Awards are in London in 2012.
"These Awards celebrate the world's top sportsmen and women and highlight the incredible power of sport to make a real difference to individuals and communities around the world. I can't think of a better way to kick off our Olympic year."
And Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: "The Laureus World Sports Awards coming to London is one of the highlights of an amazing calendar of events taking place in London in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Having the Awards here shows that London is not only the greatest capital in the world but also the greatest place for sport at all levels – from top sports stars to grassroots sporting champions. Laureus and I share a commitment to making sport a positive part of everyone’s life regardless of age and ability and I am delighted that they have come to London in such an important year."
The Awards were announced in seven categories. The winners were:
- Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
- Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Vivian Cheruiyot
- Laureus World Team of the Year: FC Barcelona
- Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Rory McIlroy
- Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Darren Clarke
- Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oscar Pistorius
- Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Kelly Slater