THE passengers and crew on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were not forgotten at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who opened the awards ceremony at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, said he appreciated the overwhelming support from the international sporting fraternity.
“Two days ago, I had to make a sudden announcement regarding flight MH370 which has put the family and friends of the 239 passengers and crew in a difficult position. While the nation is in mourning, I would like to thank the organisers for giving us the support needed in these trying times,” he said in his speech.
Najib added that during the worst of times, people look to heroic feats, such as those by sportsmen, to inspire them.
“At this difficult time we draw strength from individual stories of perseverance, of generosity, of endurance. The nominees here have displayed those values,” he said.
Laureus Sportswoman of the Year, Missy Franklin, expressed her support for Malaysians.
“My prayers and thoughts are with those affected by the tragedy,” she said in her acceptance speech.
On Tuesday, Laureus World Sports Academy chairman Edwin Moses said the awards had been scaled down.
Meanwhile, Malaysian squash queen Datuk Nicol David, who was a presenter at the awards ceremony, also expressed her deepest condolences to the families of those on board flight MH370.
The World Sportsman of the Year went to Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel. Other winners included Marc Marquez (Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year); Rafeal Nadal (Laureus World Comeback of the Year); Marie Bochet (Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability); Jamie Bestwick (Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year) and the Bayern Munich team (Laureus World Team of the Year).
Also present at the ceremony were Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
The Laureus World Sports awards are chosen by a jury made up of 46 of the greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen.