Vettel, Franklin named top sportspersons

Laureus awards
Last Updated 26 March 2014, 17:26 IST

Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel and American swimming sensation Missy Franklin were named Laureus Sportsman and Woman of the Year on Wednesday in a ceremony filled with tributes to those affected by the missing Malaysian Airlines plane. 

Nearly all of the seven winners at the lavish awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur remarked on flight MH370, which went missing 18 days ago with 239 passengers and crew on board after leaving Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak opened the ceremony, after a moment’s silence, and talked about the strength his nation could take from the achievements of the nominees.Franklin, 18, collected the first award of the night in recognition of her stunning efforts in the pool in 2013 as she became the first woman to win six golds at a single world championships in Barcelona in August.

The four-times Olympic champion gushed at her surprise in winning the award, presented by compatriot and swimming great Mark Spitz, ahead of five others including American tennis player Serena Williams and Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.Vettel enjoyed similar dominance of his sport by winning 13 of 19 Formula One races, including the last nine, in 2013 as he took a fourth consecutive world championship and constructors' title for Red Bull.

Spaniard Nadal  took the Comeback of the Year prize after bouncing back from a seven-month absence to win the 2013 French and US Opens as well as five ATP Masters titles. “How tough the year before with my injury? I never thought I would have the chance to come back as I did so for that reason this Laureus means more,” he said in a recorded message.

Bayern Munich were named World Team of The Year after the German side completed a treble by winning the Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup, while MotoGP champion Marc Marquez took the Breakthrough of the Year prize after taking the title in his rookie season.

Sportsman of the Year:    Sebastian Vettel
Sportswoman of the Year: Missy Franklin
Team of the Year: Bayern Munich
Breakthrough of the Year: Marc Marquez
Comeback of the Year: Rafael Nadal
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Marie  Bochet
n Action Sportsperson of the Year: Jamie Bestwick. 
(Published 26 March 2014, 17:25 IST)

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