Novak Djokovic, Aitana Bonmati Win Top Honours At Laureus Sports Awards - Eastern Mirror
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Novak Djokovic, Aitana Bonmati win top honours at Laureus Sports Awards

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By IANS Updated: Apr 23, 2024 3:29 pm

NEW DELHI — World no. 1 Serbian tennis great Novak Djokovic was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year at a ceremony held in Madrid to tie another all-time record, with his fifth Laureus Award (he won in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019).

Djokovic had a remarkable 2023, winning three of the four major titles — Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open — in men’s tennis and only missed out on a Calendar Slam after a classic Wimbledon final against eventual winner Carlos Alcaraz.

The 36-year-old ended the year by winning a record seventh ATP Finals title and by claiming Year-End No. 1 for a record eighth time. The Serb is now on a record-equalling 24 Grand Slams.

“I am truly blessed to be among sports greats as a winner, but also as a supporter and admirer of Laureus Sport for Good as I too believe in the power of sport to make a difference in the world. Finally, this Laureus Statuette stands alone because it represents more than sporting achievement.

“The Laureus mission of using sport as a power for good has been changing lives for 25 years and embodies the values of its founding patron, Nelson Mandela. I want to add my support to Laureus Sport for Good and the work they are doing to transform lives around the world,” said Djokovic.

Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati won the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year and in doing so became the first footballer to win the prestigious Award.

Bonmati, who represented the Spain team which won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, took to the stage once again as the world champions Spain took the Laureus World Team of the Year award and became the first all-female team to win the award.

The Rafael Nadal Foundation was recognised for helping more than 1,000 vulnerable young people in Spain and India, empowering them to realise their potential and believing in the transformative power of sport.

The English midfielder Jude Bellingham won the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award – the first footballer to do so – after an electrifying start to his time with Real Madrid. Former World No. 1 tennis player Carlos Alcaraz presented Bellington the award which the Spaniard won last year.

American artistic gymnast Simon Biles was honoured with the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award after a sensational return to gymnastics following a two-year hiatus.

Biles left the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium with four gold medals in her first global event since leaving the Tokyo Olympics and entering a near two-year break from the sport she had dominated.

Her journey from an Olympic exit that stunned the sporting world, through a recovery that platformed the issue of mental health in elite athletics, to a triumphant comeback, has been as inspirational as anything Biles has done in competition.

She is a three-time winner of Sportswoman of the Year (2017, 2019, 2020) and adds another statuette to her collection with the 2024 Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.

Shortlists for seven categories (Sportswoman, Sportsman, Team, Breakthrough, Comeback, Action and Sport for Good) are created by votes from more than 1,000 sports media from over 70 countries.

The Laureus World Sports Academy (a unique group of sporting legends) votes for the winners in each shortlisted category and The Academy also has the ability to grant discretionary awards, such as the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.

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By IANS Updated: Apr 23, 2024 3:29:07 pm
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