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MADRID: Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic poses with the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award during the 25th Laureus World Sports Awards gala in Madrid. – AFP
MADRID: Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic poses with the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award during the 25th Laureus World Sports Awards gala in Madrid. – AFP
Djokovic, Bonmati crowned at Laureus Awards

MADRID: Novak Djokovic was named World Sportsman of the Year for a record-equalling fifth time at the Laureus Awards ceremony on Monday, while Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati won individual and team awards.

Tennis great Djokovic, a record 24-time Grand Slam champion, equalled his former rival Roger Federer’s tally at the prestigeous ceremony in Madrid. Djokovic, 36, won three Grand Slams last year along with the ATP Finals.

“I am incredibly honoured to have won my fifth,” said Djokovic. “I think back to 2012, when I won it for the first time as a 24-year-old. “I am very proud to be here 12 years later, reflecting on a year that brought me and my fans a lot of excitement and success.”

Bonmati won the Sportswoman of the Year award, becoming the first footballer to do so, and was also rewarded along with her Spain team-mates for winning the Women’s World Cup last summer. La Roja earned the World Team of the Year award for winning the competition for the first time in their history.

MADRID: Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati poses with her Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award during the 25th Laureus World Sports Awards gala in Madrid. – AFP
MADRID: Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati poses with her Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award during the 25th Laureus World Sports Awards gala in Madrid. – AFP

“Our national team is a group like no other—our strength comes from every challenge we have faced, both on and off the field of play,” said Bonmati, who also won the Champions League with her club Barcelona. Bonmati and her team-mates were praised for helping to combat sexism in the Spanish football federation by protesting after disgraced former president Luis Rubiales forcibly kissed player Jenni Hermoso.

England international Jude Bellingham was given the World Breakthrough of the Year award for his stunning start to life at Real Madrid, a day after he scored the Clasico winner against Barcelona. Bellingham is Los Blancos’ top goalscorer with 21 goals across all competitions in his first season at the club. — AFP

Gymnastics star Simone Biles was given the World Comeback of the Year award for her triumphant return to the sport after nearly a two-year mental health break. Biles, a three time World Sportswoman of the year winner, won four gold medals at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Belgium last year.

Tennis star Rafael Nadal’s foundation to help youngsters in Spain and India won the Sport for Good award, while Diede de Groot earned the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award. The Dutch wheelchair tennis player claimed an unparallelled third consecutive calendar Grand Slam last year.

Arisa Trew, a 14-year-old Australian skateboarder, won the World Action Sportsperson of the Year award. The awards have been offered annually since 2000 by a 69-strong jury comprised of sporting greats who make up the Laureus Academy. — AFP

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