As a member of the Laureus World Sports Awards Nominations Committee, I was given the chance to submit my nominees in the various categories. Now that the nominees have been announced for the 2016 Awards, to be held in Durban, we will start a series of posts looking at the nominees for certain categories, highlight what they did in the year under review and lastly make a pick of who we think will be the winner. The Laureus World Sports Awards was established in 1999 and annually honours the remarkable individuals and their sporting achievements from the world of sports.
Today we start off with the World Sportsman of the year award where there are six nominees, of which 2 are former winners of the award. The award
Novak Djokovic – Serbia – Tennis
The Serbian has won the award twice before, in 2012 and 2015, and arguably had the best year of his career in 2015. An incredible season for the Serb saw him win the Australian and US Open’s to go along with his Wimbledon title, taking his total of Grand Slams to 10 (Which he has since taken to 11). The only blot on a frankly sensational copybook of a year was the defeat in the French Open Final to Stan Wawrinka.
Usain Bolt – Jamaica – Athletics
Usain Bolt is a three time winner of the award, won in his dominant years of 2009 and 2010 after those record runs. He added his third title in 2013 after an incredible showing at the London Olympics and is now back amongst the nominees after an impressive 2015 that culminated in the 100 and 200m double at the Beijing World Championships. Racing against the man that not many love, Justin Gatlin, Bolt delighted the world by running a 9.79 in the 100m final. He also won gold in the relay to make it 11 World Championship gold medals.
Lionel Messi – Argentina – Football
There are very few superlatives for Lionel Messi that haven’t already been heaped on his shoulders. The Argentine was the leader of a fearsome trio that took Barcelona to the top of Spain, the top of Europe and the top of the World in 2015. 43 League goals were scored, 18 assists and another two goals to win the Copa del Rey. The opening goal was one of the finalists for the Puskas Award for goal of the year. He was given his fifth Ballon D’or title to underline a superb year. Messi was once again the stand out performer at a standout club.
Lewis Hamilton cleared the floor before him as he raced away to his third Formula 1 World Championship. In a season. It was a season where he overtook Jackie Stewart record for laps led in consecutive Grands Prix. He also got to the second longest streak of podium finishes in a row, ending on 16 and also moved up into third place for the most career race wins. His 10 wins in the year means the Brit has now won 21 of the last 38 races, arguably one of the most dominant spells in F1 history.
Stephen Curry – America – Basketball
I am not much of a basketball fan myself, but even I have heard of Stephen Curry. That alone should tell you just how good he is. In April he broke his own record for the most 3 pt throws in a season and after leading the Warriors to their first NBA Championship in 40 years by scoring the most 3 pointers ever in a preseason. And from what I read he has started the new season even better! He was the leading vote-getter for the NBA All Star game too.
Jordan Spieth – America – Golf
2015 was a watershed year for Jordan Spieth. The promise that he showed at Augusta in 2014 bore fruit in an incredible way. Not only did Spieth win the Masters, but he followed it up with a win at the US Open. At the Open Championship Spieth finished fourth and after finishing second at the PGA Championship became the World No. 1. Spieth would go on to win the Fedex Cup and cleaned out all the awards for the season, including the PGA Player of the Year. He has also set up what should be an incredible rivalry between him, McIlroy and Day.
Who does Jabu Pick?
I really think this category is immensely blessed this year and realistically any of the nominees could win. My choice however has to go to Novak Djokovic. He lost only 6 matches in the entire year and won 11 tournaments of the 16 he played at. It was the most dominant display seen in tennis and further evidence that Djokovic is the Worlds Best Sportsman currently.