Djokovic, Bonmati win Laureus Awards

<p>Novak Djokovic and Aitana Bonmati <em>(Instragram)</em></p>

Novak Djokovic and Aitana Bonmati (Instragram)

MADRID – Serbian tennis legend Novak Djokovic was named as the Sportsman of the Year and Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati won the women's counterpart on Monday night at the 25th Laureus World Sports Awards held in Madrid.

In a ceremony held at one of the Spanish capital's most emblematic buildings - the Palacio de Cibeles, Djokovic said, "We are individual athletes, but every success we owe to our family and our team. My team has been instrumental in my success in 2023, which was one of the best seasons of my life."

Novak Djokovic, who won the Australian, French and US Open titles to take his number of Grand Slams to 24, held off opposition from Leo Messi, Max Verstappen, Erling Haaland, Noah Lyles and Mondo Duplantis to win the prestigious 2024 Award.

The event was attended by some of the biggest names in sport from the past and present, such as Djokovic, athletes including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Michael Johnson and Edwin Moses, former footballers including Cafu, Alessandro Del Piero, Marcel Desailly and Ruud Gullit, and gymnasts including Nadia Comaneci and Li Xiaopeng.

Bonmati, who helped Spain win the 2023 Women's World Cup and led FC Barcelona to a domestic double, thanked her companions at Barcelona and the national team for their help in her winning the award.

The Spanish Women's Football Team was then given the Award for Laureus World Team of the Year after winning the World Cup.

Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham won the World Breakthrough of the Year award, after his debut season with the Spanish club. The award was an extra reason to celebrate following his injury time winning goal against FC Barcelona on Sunday night.

American gymnast Simone Biles was given the Laureus World Comeback of the Year after winning four gold medals at the World Championship, including a record sixth all-around title after her two-year absence following the Tokyo Olympics.

Skateboarder Arisa Trew was the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, while Diede de Groot was the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability after recording her third straight calendar Grand Slam.

The Rafa Nadal Foundation was named as the winner of the Laureus Sport for Good Award for its work in helping vulnerable young people in Spain and India. (Xinhua)