March 10 - Jamaica’s triple Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt (pictured) won his second successive Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award while American tennis star Serena Williams claimed the Sportswoman of the Year honour in Abu Dhabi tonight.
A glittering ceremony held at the Emirates Palace saw a host of sports stars coming together under one roof.
But, unfortunately, neither Bolt nor Williams were there.
Bolt, the 23-year-old triple Olympic champion has been in great form since that dream run at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The Jamaican extended that 2008 form into last year by winning 100, 200 and 4x100 metres titles at the World Championships in Berlin.
Laureus had honoured Bolt with the same award after that stupendous feat in Beijing.
Three World Championships’ gold medals, including two world records in the 100 and 200m, earned Bolt the award.
He beat out the competition of Roger Federer, Lionel Messi, Kenenisa Bekele, Alberto Contador and Valentino Rossi.
“I am working on doing well again at the Olympics," Bolt said in a specially-recorded television message from Jamaica.
"And also am aiming to break records."
Williams, 26, too won her second award in this category.
The world number one tennis player had also won it in 2003 while she had also won the Laureus World Comeback of the Year in 2007.
Williams won two Grand Slam singles titles in 2009, claiming the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Those two successes took her singles Grand Slam tally to 11.
She has begun well this year too by retaining the Australian Open title.
Athletes Sanya Richards and Shelly-Ann Fraser, swimmers Federica Pellegrini and Britta Steffen and skier Lindsey Vonn were the other nominees who Williams edged out.
There was a double triumph for tennis as Belgian star Kim Clijsters (pictured) was honoured with Laureus World Comeback of the Year after she made a dramatic return to the sport in 2009 by winning the US Open.
Cljisters had retired from the game in May 2007 at the age of 24 due to injuries.
However, the Belgian decided to return and played in New York after being given a wild card entry.
The 26-year-old became the first mother to win a Grand Slam trophy in the Open era since Evonne Goolagong Cawley had done the same at Wimbledon in 1980.
She was the first wild card entrant to win in US Open history.
Clijsters too was not present at the venue and in a pre-recorded message thanked Laureus for the award.
“I could not be there tonight to receive the award," she said.
"I am honoured to be holding this trophy."
Last year’s Formula One world champion Jenson Button was named for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
The Briton, after receiving the award said: "It’s great to be here and win this award. It has been an exceptional season for me.
"I am 30 and I won the breakthrough award.
"This award rounds off my last season with Brawn GP and from tomorrow my new season will start with my new team McLaren.”
Natalie du Toit, the South African swimmer, received the Laureus Disability Award.
Australia’s three-time world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore was named Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year.
Laureus Academy’s member Nawal El Moutawakel got the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award for her work for women in sport and the International Olympic Committee.
Laureus Sport for Good Award went to American basketball legend Dikembe Mutombo for his charitable work in his native Congo.