Stars descend on Abu Dhabi for Laureus Awards

Rafael Nadal named Sportsman of the Year at sporting 'Oscars'



World tennis number one Rafael Nadal topped off an amazing 2010, in which he won three Major titles, by being named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year at the Emirates Palace.

Nadal, who won the US and French Opens and the Wimbledon championship last year, picked up the prize at the glitzy ceremony dubbed by many as the 'Oscars' of the sporting world.

For the past few days, Abu Dhabi has been inundated with more stars of sports and screen that you could wave a javelin at. Although it may have not been able to compete with the real Academy Awards in the movie star headcount - legendary actors Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey were the two standout names from this field - but when it came to numbers of sports legends of the past and present, the event could not be surpassed.

After walking the red carpet into the luxurious seven-star hotel, guests settled down to a show hosted by Spacey. As well as Nadal, other big winners included American skier Lindsey Vonn, who won the Sportswoman of the Year gong, German golfer Martin Kaymer, fresh from his triumph at the recent Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, who won the Breakthrough of the Year Award and the FIFA World Cup champions Spain, which triumphed as World Team of the Year.

The awards are voted for by the Laureus Academy, a committee of 46 legendary sportsmen and women from a variety of disciplines. Many of these turned up for the event in Abu Dhabi, including the British five times Olympic gold medalist Steve Redgrave, ginger German tennis ace Boris Becker and South African golfing hero Gary Player. As well as the actual awards ceremony, Player hosted a Golf Challenge at his Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, while a charity football match involving former players such as Steve McManaman, Edgar Davids and Gianfranco Zola was held at the Emirates Palace, which raised about  Dh2.5 million for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Full list of winners:
World Sportsman of the Year: Rafael Nadal (Spain)

World Sportswoman of the Year: Lindsey Vonn (US)

World Team of the Year: Spain World Cup Team

World Breakthrough of the Year: Martin Kaymer (Germany)

World Comeback of the Year: Valentino Rossi (Italy)

World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Verena Bentele (Germany)

World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Kelly Slater (US)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Zinedine Zidane (France)

Spirit of Sport Award: European Ryder Cup team

Sport for Good Award: May El-Khalil, founder of the Beirut Marathon

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