By Mike Rowbottom in Abu Dhabi

Rafael_Nadal_with_Laureus_award_Abu_Dhabi_February_7_2011February 7 - Rafael Nadal's achievement of winning three grand slam events in 2010 was honoured at the annual Laureus World Sports Awards here tonight in the Emirates Palace hotel, as he was named Sportsman of the Year, with the Sportswoman award going to 2010 Olympic downhill champion Lindsay Vonn.

Nadal, who was voted ahead of footballers Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, basketball player Kobe Bryant, Formula 1's world champion Sebastian Vettel and boxer Manny Pacquiao, had two reasons to celebrate on the night as his fellow Spaniards in the 2010 World Cup-winning side took the World Team of the Year award.

Vonn's rivals numbered three tennis players - Serena Williams, Caroling Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters - and two athletes - Blanka Vlasic and Jessica Ennis.

Her award confirmed her as the dominant women's skier of the last three years, with 2010 bringing her a third straight overall World Cup title.

The 26-year-old also became the first American woman to win the Olympic downhill event, despite nearly missing the event in Vancouver because of injury.

Just days before the downhill, Vonn revealed she had a shin injury which was giving her considerable pain.

Due to warm weather and poor snow, many of the skiing events were moved back, giving her additional time to recover.

Germany also had a night of celebration in a ceremony hosted by US film star Kevin Spacey as golfer Martin Kaymer (pictured) won the World Breakthrough of the Year Award and Verena Bentele, who took five golds in the Vancouver Paralympic skiing competition, was voted world sportsperson of the year.


Kaymer's rivals were France's European 100 metres champion, Christophe Lamaitre, Italian golfer Matteo Manassero, German footballer Thomas Muller, French triple jumper Teddy Tamgho and South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen.

The World Comeback of the Year Award went to Italy's motor cyclist Valentino Rossi, who came back to challenge strongly in the World MotoGp championship despite suffering a compound break to his leg in a crash at his home race.

Within 41 days, Rossi had returned to action, and three months later he was winning again, at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Kelly Slater won the Action Sports Award for a third time after winning a record tenth World Surfing Championship, and Zinedine Zidane took the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Colin Montgomerie, captain of the victorious European Ryder Cup team, picked up the Spirit of Sport Award on behalf of his team.

Meanwhile Australia's five-times motor cycle 500cc world champion Mick Doohan and Britain's five-times Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave were elected into the World Sports Academy.

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