Viva Espana at Laureus awards

Updated: 2011-02-09 08:17

(China Daily)

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 Viva Espana at Laureus awards

Tennis champion Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with his Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award during the Laureus World Sports Awards at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi February 7, 2011. REUTERS

ABU DHABI - Spain had double reason to celebrate at the prestigious Laureus awards here on Monday as tennis world No 1 Rafael Nadal was voted Sportsman of the Year and the Spanish football team's World Cup win netted the it of the year.

American ski superstar Lindsey Vonn got a gentle boost ahead of this week's world alpine skiing championships by winning the Sportswoman of the Year title.

German golfer Martin Kaymer's fabulous year, which included his first major - the US PGA Championship, saw him win the World Breakthrough of the Year award.

Nadal, who won three Grand Slams last year in another scintillating display of all-round tennis, was present at the gala ceremony - hosted by top American actor Kevin Spacey - to accept his award as he is presently out of action with a torn thigh muscle.

"I cannot be thankful enough for receiving the most prestigious award in the world of the sport," Nadal said. "For me it is an honor to be in front of the best sportsmen and sportswoman of the world. Thank you very much."

"For me, being No 1 in the world is not a real goal," Nadal told a news conference after the awards ceremony. "The real goal is being competitive in every tournament I am going to play and trying to keep having chances to win titles."

"I think that sports in Spain this year is really unbelievable," Nadal said. "It will be very difficult to repeat, so we have to enjoy a lot this moment."

Vonn earned her award after a stunning year in which she secured her third straight skiing World Cup and the Olympic downhill gold medal.

The World Comeback of the Year Award went to Italy's seven-time motorcycle world champion Valentino Rossi, who returned to the track just 41 days after breaking his leg.

The European Ryder Cup team won the Laureus Spirit of Sport Award.

Agence France-Presse


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