Over a period of time, we have heard many stories of dramatic comebacks, tales that go beyond the locker rooms. The extraordinary examples of hard-word, discipline and determination to overcome challenges were the main highlights of this year's Laureus World Sports Awards, which were held in Monaco on Monday.
Tennis world No. 1, Novak Djokovic won the Best Sportsman of the year award for the 4th time, equalling the record of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in the same category.
The Serb faced a major blow in February 2018 when he was threatened by a serious elbow injury, for which he had a surgery done. But the 'Stubborn Djokovic,' as his wife Jelena lovingly calls him, not only made his way back to the court but also went on to win two Grand-Slams consecutively, first the US Open in September and recently the Australian Open.
Jelena added that for her husband, tennis was “not about money or glory but for value and purpose.”
The Indian NGO, YUWA, who won the 'Sport For Good' Award this year, is a Jharkhand based NGO which works for girls empowerment.
The Sport For Good Award was inaugurated by the great Nelson Mandela, who believed that “sport has the power to change the world.” The motive of the award is to “use the power of sports to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage. Proving that sport can change the world.”
The NGO YUWA is owned by a Franz Gastler and Ross Thomson Gastler of America and runs a football program in rural Jharkhand covering approx 450 girls.
The girls who have been associated with the program have transformed into coaches while the maximum of them are amateurs. Four girls out of the 450, received the award on behalf of Yuwa in the ceremony held yesterday.
Before the ceremony, former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, kicked a few balls with the girls and said “They are good technically and want to play together. We used to say football is a sport played by 11 selfish individuals but they play like a team and are highly motivated.”
Other than Wenger, five-time Olympic champion swimmer, Missy Franklin was also touched by the story of the young Indian women who made it to the big stage despite factors like challenging factors like child marriage, which are still prevalent in many rural parts of India.
The Indian cricket team was the first to bag this award in 2004 with their Pakistani counterpart, for continuing the bilateral series, despite the political tensions between the two nations.
American gymnast, Simone Biles won the 'Sportswoman of The Year' award for the second time, followed by American tennis champion Naomi Osaka, who won the 'Breakthrough of The Year' award for her Consecutive Grand-Slam wins and reaching the top of the WTA's women's ranking.
Where Tiger Woods earned the 'Comeback of the Year' award, Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn and Arsene Wenger were awarded 'Spirit of Sport' and the 'Lifetime Achievement' Award, respectively.