LONDON, February 1, 2012 - A glittering collection of the world's greatest sports stars have just five days to wait to discover if they are winners of Laureus World Sports Awards.
World tennis No 1, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, fresh from his brilliant Australian Open win in Melbourne at the weekend, is hoping to climax a remarkable 12 months by winning the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award for the first time. In 2011, he won the Australian, Wimbledon and US Open Grand Slams and had a winning record of 70-6.
One of his biggest rivals will be Argentina's charismatic football star Lionel Messi, who has also been nominated for the Sportsman Award for the third straight time, while his team FC Barcelona are also on the shortlist as Laureus World Team of the Year for the fourth time.
Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova and ‘Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius are both nominated in two categories - Kvitova for Sportswoman and Breakthrough, while athlete Pistorius qualifies for the Breakthrough and Disability Awards. Dutch wheelchair tennis legend Esther Vergeer, a winner of the Laureus Disability Award in 2002 and 2008, is nominated again. Surfing legend and three-time winner Kelly Slater is also nominated once more for the Laureus Action Sports Award.
Jamaica has two Nominees. Sprint star Usain Bolt, twice previously winner of the Laureus Sportsman Award is nominated again, while Yohan Blake is on the shortlist for Breakthrough of the Year after his 100 metres win at the World Championships in Daegu. Another great athlete, Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya, is nominated for Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year after her 5,000 and 10,000 metres double in Daegu.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during the calendar year 2011, are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar. The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 47 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled at a televised Awards Ceremony staged in London on Monday, February 6.
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 around the world. 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 Ceremony, which will be attended by the greatest names in sport, past and present, will be staged in the heart of London at Central Hall, Westminster.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: "I am excited that the Laureus World Sports Awards and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation have decided to bring the Awards to London for 2012. Laureus and I share a commitment to making sport a positive part of everyone's life regardless of age and ability. Celebrating the power of sport here in London with the world's sporting superstars will provide the perfect start to our Olympic year and it marks the beginning of a real and long-lasting grassroots sports legacy for London and beyond."