The New Zealand All Blacks team perform the haka before a match. They are one of the names being bandied about as possible nominees for this year's Laureus World Team of the Year Award. – AFP Photo
PETALING JAYA: Champions League winners Bayern Munich, NBA champions Miami Heat, Formula 1 Constructors’ World Champions Red Bull Racing and New Zealand’s All Blacks.
What do all these great sporting teams have in common?
They are the teams who dominated their respective sports last year and are strong contenders to be nominated for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which will be hosted by Kuala Lumpur on March 26, is celebrating its 15th year and is recognised as the premier honours event in the international sporting calendar.
The names of the six nominees for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award, as voted by the Laureus Media Selection Panel, will be announced on Feb 26 and the winner will be unveiled at the awards ceremony.
Other strong contenders are Spain’s handball team who won their second World Championship in style after defeating favourites and European title holders Denmark 35-19 on home ground in Barcelona.
In cycling, Team Sky also stand a chance of being nominated after winning their second straight Tour de France through Chris Froome.
Elsewhere, American twins Bob and Mike Bryan could also be in the fray after the pair’s record third Wimbledon title, making it their 15th Grand Slam title. They are the first doubles pair to hold all four major titles and the Olympic gold medal at the same time.
The few who have been honoured at previous awards ceremonies are Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Alex Ferguson, Lewis Hamilton, Pelé, Michael Phelps, Ronaldo, Michael Schumacher, Serena Williams and Zinedine Zidane.
Guests at the Awards have included King Juan Carlos of Spain, Prince Albert of Monaco, celebrity couple David and Victoria Beckham, and actors Sir Sean Connery, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said Kuala Lumpur is honoured to host the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards.
“We are certainly looking forward to staging this internationally-renowned event and welcoming a plethora of sporting legends to Malaysia. This is a sports-loving country and I can promise warm Malaysian hospitality awaits all our guests. Coupled with international events such as the Monsoon Cup and Formula One Grand Prix, we are supremely confident that Kuala Lumpur is the perfect host,” he said.