PETALING JAYA: The superstars of world sports are coming to Malaysia soon.
The prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards, also dubbed the Oscars of sports, is set to be held in Kuala Lumpur on March 26.
The announcement that the star-studded 15th edition of the awards ceremony will be held on our shores comes less than a month after Rio de Janeiro declined to host the event due to Brazilian authorities’ concerns over public reaction to spending public money to play host.
According to Brazilian reports, Rio pulled out as host as the state authorities were unwilling to foot the bill, estimated at US$12mil (RM39mil).
With KL hosting the event, sports fans can expect to see the likes of Serena Williams, Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah, Michael Phelps, Sebastian Vettel, Alyson Felix, Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Missy Franklin, Jessica Ennis, Ernie Els, Neymar, Yannick Agnel, Anna Mears and Tirunesh Dibaba.
They have all been nominated for the awards this year.
“I am delighted that the 2014 Awards is to be staged in Kuala Lumpur. It is an exciting development that the event is being held in South-East Asia for the first time, enabling the Laureus message to be extended to a new part of the world,” said awards chairman Edwin Moses.
“Of course, this is a very emotional occasion as it is the first awards ceremony since the death of our patron, the great Nelson Mandela. I am sure that with the support of everyone in Kuala Lumpur it will be an event to remember, where we can salute today’s sporting heroes and pay tribute to President Mandela,” Moses added.
Among the sporting greats honoured at the event over the last 15 years are Usain Bolt, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Alex Ferguson and Michael Schumacher.
Bolt and Ennis were two of the biggest individual winners in 2013 when the event was staged in Rio.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said: “Kuala Lumpur is honoured to have been given the privilege of hosting the prestigious 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards.
“We are proud to count badminton world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, squash world champion Nicol David and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong (diving) as products of our sports culture.
“With international events such as the Monsoon Cup and Formula One Grand Prix, we are supremely confident that Kuala Lumpur is the perfect host for a sporting event with such global significance.
“I am positive this will be an event to remember for everyone,” he added.
The winners of the awards are selected by the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.
Proceeds from the awards will be channelled to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports over 140 community sports projects worldwide and has helped improve the lives of over 1.5 million young people.