Australian cricketers miss out on world sports awards

Brett Lee and the Australian cricket team were among the nominees to miss out on major awards at the second annual Laureus World Sports Awards night in Monte Carlo on Tuesday.

The Australian team, who set a new world record in cricket for winning sixteen Test matches in a row from October 1999 to March 2001, was one of the five finalists in the category of "World Team of the Year" at the glittering ceremony conducted at the Grimaldi Forum and televised in many parts of the world.

The award, however, went to the French national soccer team, which won the Euro 2000 championships last July. Other nominees in the team category were the Cameroon national team (Olympic soccer), Real Madrid (soccer), and the New York Yankees (baseball).

Australian fast bowler Brett Lee was one of the five finalists in the category of "World Newcomer of the Year". He was beaten by Russian tennis player Marat Safin, the other nominees being Juan-Carlos Ferrero (tennis), Aaron Baddeley (golf) and Jenson Button (motor racing). Lee made his debut in international cricket in December 1999, and despite injury problems and official scrutiny of his bowling action has taken 42 wickets in his first seven Test appearances at an average of 16.07.

The Laureus World Sports Awards, which were instituted last year, were established by DaimlerChrysler and Richemont to honour the achievements of the world's greatest sportsmen and women on an annual basis. Nominations for the awards are submitted by a selection panel of more than 300 sports journalists in 75 countries. The awards were based on performances over the year ending January 31, 2001.

Kapil Dev and Sir Vivian Richards were named on the Laureus web site among the list of past and present sporting greats to attend the evening in Monaco. Along with Ian Botham, they are the only three cricketers who are part of the 42-strong "Laureus World Sports Academy".

Other winners of awards at Tuesday night's ceremony:

  • World Sportsman of the Year: Tiger Woods (USA, golf)

  • World Sportswoman of the Year: Cathy Freeman (Australia, athletics)

  • World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Vinny Lauwers (Australia, paraplegic sailing)

  • World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year: Mike Horn (South Africa, equator circumnavigator)

  • World Comeback of the Year: Jennifer Capriati (USA, tennis)

  • Sport for Good Award: Kip Keino (Kenya, athletics)

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Steve Redgrave (UK, rowing)