By Kemantha Govender
Durban – South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius was on Monday presented with the Laureus Award for the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
The 2012 Laureus Awards ceremony was held at Central Hall, Westminster, in London.
The awards celebrate sporting personalities and teams for their performances in the previous year. The winners are determined by the Laureus World Sports Academy.
Pistorius, also referred to as the ‘Blade Runner’, received the award for becoming the first amputee to win a track medal in the non-disabled World Championships – a silver in the 4 x 400 metres relay in South Korea.
Aided by carbon fibre blades, Pistorius went on to become a Paralympics gold medalist in 2008.
Novak Djokovic picked up the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. A relentless Djokovic won three Grand Slam events – the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open – and shot to the number one spot.
The Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award went to Kenya’s long distance runner Vivian Cheruiyot, who won gold medals in both the 5 000 and 10 000-metre events at the World Championships in Daegu.
FC Barcelona, a favourite among football fans in South Africa, scooped the Laureus World Team of the Year. The Spanish team continues to dominate European football and the domestic league.
The Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year went to youngster Rory McIlroy, who won the US Open, his first Major Championship.
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year was presented to Kelly Slater. This was Slater’s fourth Laureus Award, equalling the record of Roger Federer, the only other four-time winner.
A Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to England football legend Bobby Charlton, while Rai Souza Vieira de Oliveira, the former Brazilian footballer, now social justice campaigner, won the Laureus Sport for Good Award. – BuaNews.
Pretoria – South Africa’s Olympic governing body President, Gideon Sam, has congratulated ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius for scooping the 2012 Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.
“Congratulations to Oscar,” enthused Sam on Tuesday. “What a kick-off to our Olympic and Paralympic campaign! There’s no doubt Oscar will be one of the key weapons in our battle to win even more medals at the Paralympics.
“He is not only a Paralympics legend already, not only a fine ambassador for South Africa but also a role model to both athletes with disabilities as well as able-bodied athletes.”
Pistorius, who runs on specially designed carbon fibre blades, was last year the first amputee athlete to win an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships track medal when he was part of the South African silver-medal winning 4×400-metre relay team in Daegu, South Korea.
After receiving the Laureus Statuette from Spanish actress Elsa Pataky and skateboard legend Tony Hawk in the globally televised Awards Ceremony in London, an elated Pistorius said: “[It] is just a great privilege to be nominated; it is really humbling to be here. To all the Laureus Academy Members, all you guys, thank you very much.”
He ran a personal best 400m time of 45.07 sec in Italy last year to qualify for the world championships and is now bidding to be part of Team South Africa at this year’s 2012 Olympic Games in London.
South African’s Olympic governing body chief executive officer, Tubby Reddy, also extended his congratulations to Pistorius.
“Oscar is a remarkable young athlete. The impact that he has had on uplifting the image of sportsmen and women with disabilities is enormous. Coming as it does in an Olympic and Paralympic year, this honour is a huge boost for South African sport.”
Pistorius, now aged 25, was born with a congenital absence of the fibula and his legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11-months-old. – BuaNews