Abu Dhabi: Usain Bolt and Serena Williams won the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year titles, respectively, at the Laureus World Sports Awards last night.
Jamaican sprint genius Bolt, who won the 100 metre and 200 metre golds at the World Championships in Berlin last year and followed it up with a stellar show at the relay events, beat long distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, Tour de France winning Spaniard Alberto Contador, world's No 1 tennis player Roger Federer, Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and Moto GP's Valentino Rossi to the title.
It was, incidentally, the second year on the trot that Bolt has won the title.
Bolt, who could not make it for the big night, said via a video conference: "Yeah I've definitely been working on it. Anything is possible I just need to keep working hard and keep breaking records that's the aim for me. I know this distance [400 metres], but it's not for now — maybe after the Olympics. That [Olympics] is my main aim right now. I don't think I'll be doing that [hurdles]. I can't stretch that far for fear of hurting my hamstring."
Williams, on the other hand, the women's world No 1, beat five other top contenders including Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sanya Richards, Britta Steffen, Federica Pellegrini and Lindsey Vonn to the women's prize.
Brawn GP secured a double as the current Formula One world champions beat favourites Barcelona and the South African Rugby Team to the Team of the Year award, while their star driver and world champion Jenson Button secured the Breakthrough of the Year prize.
"At 30 years old, a breakthrough award! It's a very special feeling. Last year was very special in my life. When I started the season I didn't think I'd race in F1 so to clinch the trophy in the first season was very special for me. So they [Brawn GP] deserve a part of the credit and this is a perfect way to wrap up the 2009 season," Button told media. "Tomorrow I start the 2010 season [in Bahrain] which is a brand new challenge for me with the McLaren Mercedes team I'll be jetting off there. Hopefully, I can get close to holding one of these once again."
Belgium tennis ace Kim Clijsters, who made a dramatic comeback to tennis in 2009, winning the US Open as a non-seeded wildcard in only her third tournament after a two-year absence, won the Comeback of the Year honours. South African amputee Natalie Du Toit, who made history in 2008 by becoming the first athlete to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, claimed the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award.
List of winners
- Sportsman of the Year — Usain Bolt
- Sportswoman of the Year — Serena Williams
- Breakthrough of the Year — Jenson Button
- Sportsperson with a Disability — Natalie Du Toit
- Comeback of the Year — Kim Clijsters
- Team of the Year — Brawn GP
- Action Sportsperson of the Year — Stephanie Gilmore
- Lifetime Award — Nawal El Moutawakel
- Sport for Good Award — Dikembe Mutombo