By: Mariam Ayebare & Agencies
Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton shared the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award on Monday night.
The pair pipped Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, Marc Marquez and Eliud Kipchoge for the honor.
Messi and Hamilton tied for first place in voting by the former sport’s greats who make up the members of the Laureus Academy.
Hamilton, who was given the award by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, said: ‘It’s all of our responsibility to use our platform for really pushing for gender equality, inclusivity and making sure that we are engaging and trying to represent where the world is today.’
Messi, who was not at the event, won his sixth Ballon d’Or last year as Barcelona won La Liga for the 26th time.
Hamilton was crowned F1 world champion for the sixth time in a tremendous year for the British star.
Messi who was not at the event said: ‘I apologize I was not able to come to the event tonight.
‘I really wanted to be there for every but unfortunately, I could not make it.
‘I would like to thank the Academy for giving me this recognition.
‘The truth is that this is a very special award and I am honored to be the first to win this from a team sport. Thank you very much.’
Simone Biles, who helped the US to win a fifth straight gymnast team title and became the most decorated gymnast in World Championship history with 25 medals – 19 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze, was crowned Sportswoman of the Year.
South Africa won the Team of the Year award having defeated Eddie Jones’ England in the Rugby World Cup final.
Also on the night, the Spanish basketball federation won the Exceptional Achievement award.
Snowboarder Chloe Kim won the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year for a second time.
American cross-country skier Oksana Masters was crowned World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.