Even the million hues of the setting sun failed to match the radiance emanating from the confines of the Emirates Palace Hotel where the world's best sportspersons assembled for the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday.
As actor Kevin Spacey started enthralling the audience with his witty repertoire, Rafael Nadal sat quietly in the gallery, waiting for the announcement of the World Sportsman of The Year Award. The world No. 1 tennis player, who made it a phenomenal year with three Grand Slam titles last year, perhaps, knew he was the favourite.
With Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta missing and Kobe Bryant and Sebastian Vettel not having the same achievements, Rafa sat comfortably. So when his name was announced amidst thunderous applause, no one was surprised.
Spain’s World Cup team chose to stay in Madrid and prepare for their friendly against Colombia, but the organisers managed to capture the moment for posterity when the trophy was handed over to Spanish coach Vincent del Bosque and seven national team players on a giant screen.
“It's a great honour because it's a sports award,” Bosque said from Madrid.
If Spain had all the reason to smile, the United States too had reasons to celebrate as two of their players also bagged the awards. Alpine ski-racer Lindsay Vonn was named as the 'Sportswoman of The Year'.
* The writer’s trip has been sponsored by Laureus