Mesut Ozil (Photo: Benutzer Steindy/CC)
Newly-knighted Mo Farah and Andy Murray are among the nominees announced on January 11 for the 2017 Laureus World Sports Awards, competing in the Sportsman of the Year category against the likes of Usain Bolt and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The British pair have been nominated by the world’s media for the prestigious accolade and also face competition from American basketball stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry. The winner will be revealed in Monaco on February 14. Farah had an extremely successful year in 2016 which saw him defend his 10,000 and 5,000 metres Olympic gold medals in Rio.
The double double meant the 33-year-old became only the second man in the sport’s history to achieve this feat, following in the footsteps of Finland’s Lasse Virén who completed it at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games in Munich and Montreal respectively. “I’m delighted to be nominated for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award and would like to thank the media who voted for me,” said Sir Mo.
Moeen Ali ended 2016 as one of only two players to score four Test centuries during that period – alongside Indian skipper Virat Kohli. The Worcestershire all-rounder was also one of just five players in all Test cricket to top 1,000 runs during the calendar year.
Ali hit 155 not out against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street, 108 versus Pakistan at The Oval, 117 against India at Rajkot and 146 in the same series at Chennai. The 29-year-old also struck five half centuries during the year – 61 versus South Africa at Cebturion, 63 and 86 not out off the Pakistan attack at Edgbaston, 68 against Bangladesh in Chittagong and 50 facing India in Mumbai. He ended the year with 1,078 Test runs at an average of 46.86.
Arsenal ace Mesut Ozil has scooped the prestigious Germany Footballer of the Year award for the fifth time in his career.
The award is voted for by fans, who collectively determine the man they believe has been the country’s finest performing footballer over 12 months. The 28-year-old claimed 54.5 percent of the 316,850 votes to win the award, while Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos came in second place with 33.9 percent.
Sania Mirza and Czech partner Barbora Strycova lost 4-6, 4-6 to Timea Babos and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Sydney International final on January 13. The top-seeds lost rather tamely, giving out early breaks in both the sets.
Mirza and Strycova thrashed America’s Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova from Kazakhstan 6-1, 6-2 in just 51 minutes the previous day. Mirza and Strycova saved all five breakpoints in the semi-final match and broke the rivals twice in each set. Babos and Pavlyuchenkova had defeated Andreja Klepac and María José Martínez Sánchez 6-3, 6-4 in the other semifinal.
After splitting with Martina Hingis last year in August, it was Mirza’s sixth final in eight tournaments.
She won the Cincinnati and Tokyo events with Strycova and the New Haven tournament with Monica Niculescu. It’s only at the US Open (Quarterfinals) and Beijing (2nd round) events that she made an early exit. Mirza won the season-opener Brisbane event with Bethanie Mattek-Sands but ironically lost her world No 1 rank to the American, who jumped five places to dislodge the Indian from the top spot.