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Pistorius up for Laureus awards

15 December 2011, 18:22

London - South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius is arguably the most high profile Paralympian in the world and in 2011 he broke new barriers as he competed at the highest levels of non-disabled sport as well.

As a result of his ground-breaking achievements, he has been nominated for two 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards - the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award and the Laureus Disability Award.

The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during the calendar year for 2011, are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar.

The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 47 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled at a televised Awards Ceremony staged in London on Monday, February 6.

A glittering collection of the world’s greatest sports stars have been nominated for the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards, following a ballot by the world’s media, the results of which are announced on Thursday.

Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports 89 community sports projects around the world.

Since its inception, Laureus has raised €40 million for projects which have improved the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people.

Pistorius, 25, was born with a congenital absence of the fibula and his legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11-months-old. He runs with the aid of carbon fibre blades.

Now known as the ‘Blade Runner’, in August 2011 Pistorius became the first amputee to win a non-disabled World Championship track medal, as a member of the South African silver medal winning 4 x 400 metres relay team, in Daegu, South Korea.

With his 400 metres time of 45.07 secs in July, he had achieved the qualifying standard for the World Championships and was selected for the South Africa team.

He took part in the individual 400 metres in Daegu and reached the semi-finals before being eliminated after running a time of 46.19 secs.

In the relay, he took part in the heats, which secured his silver medal, although he was not chosen for the final.

His desire to bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled sport became reality in Daegu. Now his goal is to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

In Paralympic sport in 2011, Pistorius suffered his first defeat in seven years when Jerome Singleton took the gold medal in a thrilling 100 metres at the IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand, but he did win three gold medals in the 200, 400 and 4 x 100 metres relay.

At the BT Paralympic World Cup in May, Pistorius smashed his own 400 metres Paralympic world record, recording a time of 47.28.

As a result of these achievements, Pistorius has been nominated for both the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year and the Laureus Disability Award.

In the Breakthrough category, also nominated are Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, British runner Mo Farah, Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy, who won the US Open at 22, Petra Kvitova, who won her first tennis Grand Slam at Wimbledon at just 21, and French Open champion Li Na, China’s first ever tennis Grand Slam winner.

Also on the shortlist for the Laureus Disability Award are Dutch wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer, who has already won two Laureus Awards and is unbeaten in singles in more than eight years, British wheelchair racer David Weir and Russian cross-country skier Irek Zaripov.

Brazil has two nominations - swimmer Daniel Dias, who won the Disability Award in 2009, and visually impaired runner Terezinha Guilhermina.

Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses said: “This has been a great year for sport and the Academy are going to find it extremely difficult to decide who to vote for as winners. We have had several massive performances in 2011 both by individuals and teams and that has been reflected in the Nominations. I congratulate Oscar on his amazing achievement and all the nominees for what they have achieved and now we look forward to what should be a great awards ceremony in February in London.”

The full list of nominees for the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards is:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year

Usain Bolt (Jamaica) Athletics - two gold medals in World Athletics Championships in Daegu
Novak Djokovic (Serbia) Tennis - won Australian, Wimbledon and US Open Grand Slams
Cadel Evans (Australia) Cycling - winner of the Tour de France
Lionel Messi (Argentina) Football - FC Barcelona’s star player, scored 53 goals in 2010/11 season
Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) Basketball - first European to be named MVP at NBA Finals
Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Motor Racing - won second straight F1 World Championship at 24

- Sport24

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