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Athletics | SA Track & Field

No luck for Wayde at Laureus Awards

German motor racer Nico Rosberg was recognised ahead of South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk on Tuesday night, in a tight contest for the Breakthrough of the Year trophy at the Laureus World Sport Awards in Monaco.

Already a winner of two major awards in 2016 - the SA Sports Star of the Year and Association of National Olympic Committees (Anoc) Male Athlete of the Rio Games - Van Niekerk was also an IAAF Male Athlete of the Year finalist last year.

He had no luck on this occasion, however, with Rosberg called up on stage to collect the accolade after winning the Formula One world title.

They had been nominated in a hard-fought category which also included Ethiopian distance running star Almaz Ayana, who shattered the world 10 000m record at the Rio Games, and three teams - the Fiji rugby sevens squad who earned the men's Olympic title, maiden English Premier League title winners Leicester City Football Club and European Championship football quarterfinalists Iceland.

Van Niekerk enjoyed a remarkable 2016 campaign which included the African 200m and 4x100m relay titles, the Olympic 400m gold medal in a world record time of 43.03, and a unique achievement of becoming the first man to run under 10 (9.98), 20 (19.94) and 44 seconds for the 100m, 200m and 400m respectively in his career.

"Well done to Wayde for again representing our country with pride on the international stage. It was an honour for a South African athlete to be nominated against such esteemed peers in various codes," said Athletics South Africa President, Aleck Skhosana.

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Sportsman of the year: Usain Bolt
Sports woman of the year: Simone Biles
Action sportsperson of the year: Rachel Atherton
Spirit of sports award: Leicester City
Breakthrough of the year: Nico Rosberg
Team of the year: Chicago Cubs
Comeback of the year: Michael Phelps
Sportsperson of the Year with a disability: Beatrice Vio
Sport for Good Award for Sporting Inspiration: The Refugee Olympic Team
Best Sporting Moment: Barcelona Under-12 team whose players consoled their distraught Japanese opponents at the end of the Junior Soccer World Challenge in a touching show of sportsmanship.
The Laureus Sport for Good Award: Waves for Change


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