KUALA LUMPUR: Heart-felt tributes poured in for the next-of-kin of passengers and crew on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during Wednesday night's Laureus World's Sports Awards.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who officiated the glittering awards ceremony held at Istana Budaya, here, 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 opening speech.
While Laureus Sportswoman of the Year, Missy Franklin expressed her heartfelt support for Malaysian in these trying times.
"The people of Malaysia have been all so wonderful to me since I have arrived here. My prayers and thoughts are with those whose families are affected by the tragedy," she said in her acceptance speech.
On Tuesday, Laureus World Sports Academy chairman, Edwin Moses, said several events had been put on hold ahead of the ceremony.
"Everyone in the Laureus World Sports Academy are upset by this terrible tragedy. We feel particularly close to the Malaysian people at this time, which makes what has happened even more personal and distressing.
"We feel the appropriate action at this time is to scale down some of our activities over the next two days," he had said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Malaysian squash queen Datuk Nicol David, who was a presenter during the awards ceremony, also expressed her deepest condolences to the families of those on board flight MH370.
The Laureus World Sports awards are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar.
The winners are chosen by the Laureus World sports academy, the sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen.