Nico Rosberg is seemingly in pole position to win the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award in Monaco on Tuesday night. A Laureus World Sports award will be the perfect icing on the cake for the 2016 Formula One champion.
At peace with himself even after stunning the world with his decision to quit Formula One after winning the FI driver’s championship with Mercedes last season, Rosberg feels he can beat a formidable opposition, that include English Premier League champions Leicester City, European football Championship (Euro 2016) quarterfinalists Iceland and Olympic Rugby Sevens gold medal winners, Fiji.
“This is the biggest award in world sports and I am proud to be nominated. The list of winners is incredible and it will be a very special moment for me if I can win it,” said Rosberg.
Nico Rosberg will be sentimental favourite to win a Laureus award in a city that hosted the first event in 2000. He has a hat-trick of Monaco Grand Prix titles, winning the event in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He lives here with his wife Vivian and daughter Alaia, born in August 2015.
The 31-year-old, with smart boyish looks, Nico Rosberg set the ball rolling on Monday evening as stars converged in this picturesque wind-swept French Riviera off the Mediterranean Sea.
Ronaldo, Bolt in glittering line-up
The Laureus awards have a glittering line-up of superstars cutting across sports this time. In an Olympic year, the nominations are extremely strong, with several Olympic legends such as Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Mo Farah and Andy Murray in the fray for the top awards.
Unlike last year, when Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams made a tennis sweep of the top awards, Real Madrid and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is a strong favourite to win the Sportsman of the Year award. US gymnast Simone Biles could win the women’s title.
Much before the spotlight shifts to the world’s superstars on the morrow, the Refugee Olympic team was named the winner of the Laureus Sports for Good Award for Sporting Inspiration on Monday evening.
Refugee Team awarded
On August 5, 2016, 10 athletes who made up the Refugee Olympic Team made history and captured the hearts of the world as they walked into the Maracana Stadium in Rio opening ceremony directly ahead of host nation Brazil.
Present here on Monday was South Sudanese 800m runner Yiech Pur Biel and Syrian Swimmer Rami Anis.
Aged nine, Biel was left to fend by himself in the bush as his mother and younger brothers fled the final stages of the Sudanese civil war in 2005. He hasn’t heard from his family since.
Rami Anis grew up in Aleppo. He escaped the killing fields of his country and returned to training only to get a spot in Refugee Olympic Team. In Rio, Rami recorded a new personal best in 100m freestyle heats.