Monte Carlo: The contest for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award promises to be one of the most competitive ever with the likes of Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Murray contesting for top honours.
The nominees for the World Sportsman of the Year award also include 5k and 10k Olympic champion Mo Farah, basketball duo Stephen Curry and LeBron James, besides Bolt, already a three-time Laureus winner, Ronaldo and Murray, following a ballot by the world's media.
Ronaldo is involved in three nominations -- both individually and through his teams Portugal and Real Madrid.
A glittering collection of the world's greatest Olympic and Paralympic stars from Rio de Janeiro have also been nominated for the prestigious awards in various categories.
Olympians fill all six nomination places for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award, including Americans Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and Allyson Felix, German world tennis No.1 Angelique Kerber, Jamaican sprint star Elaine Thompson and British cyclist Laura Kenny.
Swimmer Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian ever, heads the nominees in the Laureus World Comeback of the Year having won another five golds and a silver at Rio.
Others selected by the media are Spain's high jumper Ruth Beitia, Argentina's Davis Cup winner Juan Martin del Potro, British show jumper Nick Skelton, Mauritius triathlete Fabienne St Louis and Norwegian skier Aksel Lund Svindal.
In another strong category, Mercedes AMG Petronas are nominated for the third straight year for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award, along with three football teams --European Champions Portugal, Champions League winners Real Madrid and Neymar-inspired Olympic gold medal winners Brazil.
USA teams Chicago Cubs, winner of their first baseball World Series for 108 years, and NBA Champions Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, are also shortlisted.
After finishing second in 2014 and 2015, Nico Rosberg finally won the Formula One World Championship last year and has earned nomination for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award. Joining him are Olympic world-record breakers Almaz Ayana and Wayde van Niekerk, three teams who performed heroically in 2016 -- English Premier League Champions Leicester City, European Championship quarter-finalists Iceland and Olympic Rugby Sevens gold medal winners Fiji.
The Rio Paralympic Games provide all six nominees for the highly respected Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award; swimmers Ihar Boki from Belarus and New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe; visually impaired Cuban sprinter Omara Durand, Iran weightlifter Siamand Rahman, Swiss wheelchair racer Marcel Hug and Italian fencer Beatrice Vio.
The men's and women's surfing world champions John John Florence and Tyler Wright are nominated for the Laureus Action Sportsperson of the Year Award, along with snowboarder Chloe Kim, skateboarder Pedro Barros, mountain biker Rachel Atherton and Estonia's freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru, who at 13 became the youngest ever winner of a gold at the Winter X-Games.
The winners, as voted for by members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be revealed in Monaco on 14 February.
For the first time ever, sports fans will have the chance to make their voices heard in a brand new Best Sporting Moment of the Year Award, which will celebrate the power of sport.
Updated Date: Jan 12, 2017 21:37 PM