By Tom Degun

Rio-de-JaneiroFebruary 21 - A glittering collection of stars are due to attend this year's Laureus World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro on March 11 with Edwin Moses, Sebastian Coe, Boris Becker, Michael Johnson and Nawal El Moutawakel just some of the high profile names that have confirmed they will be present.

The Laureus World Sports Awards are considered the most prestigious sporting awards on the planet and the come to Rio for the first time ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in the city.

The Awards were hosted in London last year while they will be staged at the famous Municipal Theatre in Rio both this year and next year.

The Municipal Theatre has hosted major events such as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and Rio +20 while it was also the venue used by United States President Barack Obama for a speech on his visit to Brazil.

Another big star set to be in attendance for the Awards is Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who became the first human to go through the sound barrier when he made the highest ever free-fall from 24 miles over New Mexico in October last year.

Baumgartner himself is up for Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

Felix BaumgartnerAustrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who made the highest ever free-fall last year, is up for the 2013 Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year prize in Rio de Janeiro

Laureus World Sports Academy chairman Moses, a double 400 metre hurdles Olympic champion, revealed that he is excited that such a high profile cast will be attending.

"I am delighted that so many members of the Laureus Family will be there to salute the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year at this very special event," he said.

"Brazil is one of the most exciting nations on earth and Rio will become the centre of the sporting world over the next few years as it builds up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"I know sport is a passion for everyone in Brazil and it is great for Laureus that we are able to go to Rio for the Awards and be part of the celebrations there."

The shortlist for the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards is one of the strongest ever following London 2012 with the likes of Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis, Missy Franklin, Serena Williams, Alan Oliveira and Alex Zanardi all nominated for top prizes.

Usain Bolt LaureusUsain Bolt will be favourite to win the 2013 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, having already won it twice in 2009 and 2010

The 2012 awards in London saw Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic and Kenyan long-distance runner Vivian Cheruiyot take the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year prizes respectively with Barcelona FC taking the team prize.

Rory McIlroy received the breakthrough award, Darren Clarke the comeback accolade, Oscar Pistorius the disability trophy and Kelly Slater the action sportsperson prize.

In addition, there was a lifetime achievement prize for late Laureus World Sports Academy member Sir Bobby Robson.

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