Wenger, Djokovic emerge winners at 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards


Stories of dramatic comebacks, tales that go beyond the locker rooms and extraordinary examples of determination to overcome challenges were the highlights of the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco on Monday.

Kenyan marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge who set the world marathon record in Berlin won the Exceptional Achievement Award while World Cup winners, France won the Team of the Year.

I also want to [acknowledge] the other nominees, and thank the Laureus Academy for nominating me for such a prestigious award, she added.

American Gymnast Simone Biles was named Sportswoman of the Year as she beat competition from triathlete Daniela Ryf, and tennis stars Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber and skiers Esther Ledecka and Mikaela Shiffrin.

"OK, OK, I promised not to cry anymore, but you guys did it to me", Vonn said, putting her hands to her face in shock, as star athletes such as Novak Djokovic, close friend and competitor Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Katarina Witt and Prince Albert of Monaco all feted her with an extended standing ovation.

The Serbian bagged the honour for the fourth time having previously won the award in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

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With his record seventh title at Melbourne Park, Djokovic moved ahead of Pete Sampras into third on the men's all-time list of Grand Slam winners (15), just two behind Spaniard Rafa Nadal.

Elsewhere at the ceremony, Naomi Osaka won the Breakthrough award following her maiden grand slam victory at the US Open, Tiger Woods claimed the Comeback prize after winning his first PGA Tour title in five years, while France's World Cup winners saw them scoop the Team accolade.

Multiple Olympic champion Biles became the all-time leading world gymnastics championship gold medal victor with a record 14 golds.

This is the second Laureus award for 21-year-old Biles, who also picked up the title last year following her fifth national championship and fourth global championship wins. "I did not understand that fully before but now I know where I can always find strength and belief and to keep on going".

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger received the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to football. The Awards also showcase the work of Laureus Sport for Good, a charity which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage.