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The Winners of the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards

SEVILLE, SPAIN, May 6, 2021 – The Winners of the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards have been unveiled at a digital Awards Ceremony in Seville. Among the highlights were a FOURTH Laureus Award for Rafael Nadal and SECOND Laureus Awards for Naomi Osaka and the Bayern Munich football team. 

As well as recognising the greatest sporting performances in 2020, despite the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a new Award which acknowledged the wider impact on society made by athletes:  Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was named the inaugural Winner of the Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award for his involvement in the fight against racism. 

And Liverpool and Egyptian football star Mo Salah was honoured with the Laureus Sporting Inspiration Award to mark his unique contribution over many years to those in need and for those less fortunate. The Laureus Awards event was staged in a new digital format rather than as its usual Awards Ceremony because of continuing uncertainty over travel and social contact. In line with the focus of Laureus on Sport for Good, the 2021 Awards told the inspirational stories of people who worked tirelessly to combat the pandemic, and highlighted the advocacy of sportsmen and sportswomen who have used their positions of influence to make a powerful impact on issues and conflicts which go beyond sport.

Tennis scooped the top two individual prizes with Spain’s Rafael Nadal winning the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award after his 13th French Open win which brought him level on 20 career Grand Slams with Roger Federer, and Naomi Osaka, who won the US Open for the second time, taking the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award. Osaka made a powerful statement at Flushing Meadows in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign by wearing different face masks in her matches, featuring the names of African Americans who died in recent years.

Nadal, who won the 2006 Breakthrough Award, the 2011 Sportsman Award and the 2014 Comeback Award, said: “I want to say thank you very much from the bottom of my heart to the Laureus Academy. I have had some amazing competitors: the rest of the sportsmen probably deserve the trophy the same as me, but this was the year for me and I can’t be happier.

“Winning the French Open and equalling the 20th Grand Slam of Roger Federer has been an unforgettable moment. It means a lot to equal my great rival, but at the same time, my great friend. It’s something very special after all the history we have had together on and off court.”

“The pandemic that we are facing is something unprecedented and I want to send a message of support to all the families that have suffered or lost somebody.”

  While Osaka, winner of the Laureus Breakthrough Award in 2019, said: “I’ve watched so many of my role models win this [Sportswoman] Award, so it definitely means a lot now to be holding it. I am so happy to receive it; it really means a lot to me. 

“Regarding my activism on the court, I think it is important to use my voice, because for me I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it. Looking ahead my main hopes for the future would be just to have helped or impacted as many people as I could and, hopefully be a better person.”

Bayern Munich, winners of the UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal treble under new coach Hansi Flick, won the Laureus World Team of the Year Award. The last time was in 2014. Bayern became the first team to win the Champions League with a 100% record. Among their victims were the once mighty FC Barcelona whom they beat 8-2. 

As well as being one of the most phenomenal goalscorers in football, Mo Salah has proved himself to be a massive supporter of countless causes, including many from his home town of Nagrig in Egypt. He is a powerful advocate of women’s equality in the Middle East and has been named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

Laureus Sporting Inspiration Award recipient, Mo Salah, said: “I’m very proud to have been chosen by the Laureus Academy for this Sporting Inspiration Award. 2020 was a very difficult year, on so many levels and for so many people around the world. Some of us were kept away from our family and friends, and others even lost loved ones. We need to learn from this experience, support one another, and do our best to look ahead. 

“Many times, football players win Awards and automatically thank our fans. This time, I will dedicate this Award not only to our fans but to all the other sports fans around the world. This past year has been a very harsh reminder of the fact that sport, including football, is nothing without fans. Everyone in the world of sport can be replaced, fans can not. I will end on that note. Once again, thank you very much.”

Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot was one of the most emotional winners of the night. He received the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award after fighting back from cancer to win X-Games gold medals. 

Patrick Mahomes took the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award after leading Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 to their first Super Bowl appearance and win in 50 years, at just 24. Away from the field, the Chief’s No.15 supports 15 community children’s projects with his foundation ‘15 and the Mahomies’. He was also at the front of an NFL athletes’ pressure group that petitioned the league to examine its behaviour and attitudes around racism and political protest.

The new Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award was presented to Britain’s record-equalling seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton for his firm and outspoken support for racial justice, wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ race helmet and black race suit and taking a knee at each Grand Prix. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas cars were painted in black livery as a statement of the team’s commitment to diversity.

Hamilton, a double Laureus winner with the Breakthrough Award in 2008 and the Sportsman of the Year Award last year, shared with Lionel Messi, said: “A huge thank you to the Laureus World Sports Academy for presenting me with this incredible Award. This past year has been incredibly difficult for so many, but it has also been heartening to see the power of our collective voices spark new conversations and change. The impact of each and every one of you who have stood up, is so inspiring, so I want to thank you. Please keep fighting, keep shining your light. 

“The global rising to address the longstanding issue of systemic racism and inequality in our society has been monumental, but we must continue to fight. We must all see ourselves as responsible for making positive change in our world, and hold ourselves accountable, so that the promises of last year turn in to action. I truly believe that together, we will get there, and so I stand with you as we push forwards. I’m sending you all love and positivity, stay safe. Thank you.”

Tennis giant Billie Jean King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles and has been a lifelong advocate for gender equality and a pioneer for equality and social justice, has been honoured with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and Women’s Sports Foundation.

The German sports-based community programme KICKFORMORE by KICKFAIR, which uses football to build bridges between cultures, particularly in areas with a high proportion of refugees, won the Laureus Sport for Good Award. The programme focuses on non-violence, human rights, gender equality and diversity. Laureus Sport for Good supports more than 250 community sports programmes in over 40 countries around the world. 

Inspirational Chris Nikic, who became the first person with Down’s Syndrome to complete a full Ironman, received the most votes in the global Laureus Sporting Moment Award public vote. Nikic, 21, from Maitland Florida, made history, completing the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon run in Kona in November. “You can do things you never thought possible,” said Chris. The Award celebrates fair play, sportsmanship, dedication or overcoming adversity. It recognises a unique, emotional moment or story that touches the hearts of millions and inspires people worldwide.

The 2021 Awards Show also marked the launch of Everyone Wins, a new global campaign to promote sport for good. The campaign will shine a light on young people facing some of the world’s toughest opponents on and off playing fields around the world, celebrating how the power of sport helps them overcome opponents like disadvantage, inequality, violence, racism and sexism to make our world a better place. Because every time sport defeats these opponents: Everyone Wins.                                    

Sean Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: “I’m delighted that despite a challenging year, we have been able to honour so many great sportsmen and women. The Winners, but also the Nominees who didn’t quite make it, are the people who have reminded us how inspiring and motivational sport can be once it returned after lockdown. The Awards Show kicks off an important new phase for Laureus with the launch of Everyone Wins, a global campaign which will help transform public awareness and understanding of Laureus and drive donations to Sport for Good.”  

The winners of Laureus World Sports Awards are selected by the ultimate sports jury – the Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today. 

Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and MUFG.

The full list of Winners are: 

Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award: Rafael Nadal 

Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award: Naomi Osaka

Laureus World Team of the Year Award: Bayern Munich

Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award: Patrick Mahomes

Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award: Max Parrot

Laureus Sport for Good Award: KICKFORMORE by KICKFAIR

Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award: Billie Jean King

Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award: Lewis Hamilton

Laureus Sporting Inspiration Award: Mohamed Salah

Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year Award: Chris Nikic 

Click here for full biographies of the Winners and list of Nominees.

COVID -19 Virus Global Thinkers Gather To Seek Solutions At The IGCF

With  COVID-19 dominating the news headlines worldwide, global thinkers, celebrities and statesmen offer their prognosis and chart the course of action.

– Actor and Activist Priyanka Chopra, Futurist Dr. Michio Kaku, former President of Colombia H.E. Juan Santos and other leading voices have spoken about the measures to tackle Coronavirus at the 9th International Government Communications Forum in Sharjah, UAE.

– Headlining the Forum, Actor and Activist Priyanka Chopra Jones spoke passionately about the role of the entertainment industry to promote diversity and cultural awareness and also addressed the issues of social responsibility and toxicity of social media. 

Sharjah, UAE –  Health checks at airports, deep cleans of public spaces – containment measures have kicked into gear around the world, but will they help to stop the spread of the coronavirus?

While many international events have been cancelled, 64 global thinkers, celebrities and statesmen gathered in Sharjah, UAE to discuss effective government communications as they chart the course of action to tackle the virus.

Former President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos drew on his experience of containing chikungunya virus and El Niño weather events:

“My recommendation to any government is don’t underestimate the problem, never try to hide the truth, don’t manipulate the health officials and experts, allow as much information as possible. What I hope is that something that we are experiencing open our eyes to the world to appreciate the importance of international cooperation.”

Physicist Michio Kaku aims to understand the future of humanity based on his grand “theory of everything”. He’s spoken about the future of AI and the new tech enabling telepathic communications.

Talking about the future development of the virus, he found it hard to asses the scale of what’s to come:

Futurist Michio Kaku: “I think right now you have to be a little bit pessimistic because it hasn’t peaked yet. But look at the flu virus. At one point, the flu virus is also quite, quite dangerous. But over time, it begins to lose some of its lethality. So let’s hope that we’re entering that phase in the coming months. But it’s impossible to say right now.”

Actress, producer and activist Priyanka Chopra Jones was one of the headliners at the event to talk about the power of entertainment industry to change narratives.

She said influencers are as vulnerable to the virus and said all communications are best left to the governments:

“No, I don’t think we have a role to play in educating people about the Coronavirus, because I think we’re just as vulnerable to it as anyone else. And we have as much information or lack of information thereof as everybody else. I just I would implore everyone to, you know, to wash your hands and just educate yourself as much as we know. And I would also implore the governments to give us a lot more information as they find out. “

Irina Bokova, former Director General of UNESCO and a recent candidate for the UN’s top job talked about the dangers of a possible pandemic in an increasingly nationalist world:

“Governments prefer to deal with bilateral issues, multilateralism is under threat, but I don’t see any other possibility of solving global issues that do not know geographical and geopolitical borders. Coronavirus is definitely one of those issues that testify to the fact that these problems will not stop at the border and are not confined in one single country.”

Coronavirus cases have grown in the Middle East in the past week, crossing a threshold of 3000 infections with more than 90 deaths.

Over the past few days a decision had been taken to have schools and universities to be closed for a period of four weeks starting from Sunday, March 8.

The UAE has also been helping Iran, facilitating a WHO mission to deliver medical supplies and equipment.

Gloria Gaynor Closes The 22nd Habanos Festival With Glamorous Gala Evening Dedicated To The Romeo And Julieta Brand

  • The event welcomed 1,200 guests and hosted the Habanos Awards as well as the traditional Humidors Auction
  • The famous singer Gloria Gaynor performed in the final evening concert, marking a glittering end to the XXII Habanos Festival
  • The Humidors Auction raised historic amount of 4.270.000 € with all proceeds going entirely to the Cuban Public Health System

February 29th, Havana, Cuba  The XXII Habanos Festival culminated this edition with the Gala Evening, marking a glittering end to a week packed with activities for lovers of the world’s best tobacco, arriving from 60 different countries around the globe. 

In this year’s edition of the traditional Humidors Auction five humidors from some of the most prestigious Habanos brands were auctioned, together with a special humidor donated by Simon Chase family to Habanos. The auction has raised the historic amount of 4.270.000 € with all proceeds going entirely to the Cuban Public Health System. For the first time in this traditional auction a humidor from the Cohiba brand reached 2.400.000 €.

The Gala Evening paid tribute to the 145th Anniversary of the Romeo y Julieta brand, presenting its three new vitolas in a new line, Línea de Oro. 

Attendees had the chance to taste, exclusively, the three new vitolas that make up the brand’s most Premium line: Hidalgos (57 ring gauge x 125 mm length), Nobles (56 ring gauge x 135 mm length) and Dianas (52 ring gauge x 145 mm length).

Throughout the evening, held in Pabexpo in the city of Havana, over 1,200 guests enjoyed an outstanding musical line-up headed by the famous international artist and pop icon, Gloria Gaynor, as well as other performances including Camerata Guido López and the Maestro Patterson Orchestra, Director of the Cuban Radio and Television Orchestra. In addition, there were artistic performances including the Company led by Santiago Alfonso, winner of the 2006 Cuban National Dance Award, and the great Vengsay Valdés, Director and first dancer of the Cuban National Ballet. 

The closing ceremony also hosted the Habanos Awards with Alexander Avellar receiving the prize in the Communication category, Jean Claude Reichling winning the award in the Business category and Servilio Jesús Córdova Torres  in the Production category, respectively.

Also, the winning couple of aficionados of the III Habanos World Challenge International Contest were Tarek Gamaye and Fabi Hammad, from the United Arab Emirates.

The Gala Evening, full of surprises and music acts, will conclude with the traditional humidors auction, with all proceeds going to the Cuban Public Health System. 

20th Anniversary Laureus World Sports Awards

Lewis Hamilton And Lionel Messi Share Laureus Sportsman Award In First Ever Tie – A Moment Of History BERLIN, February 17, 2020 – In a moment of sporting history, the greatest Formula One driver of his generation Lewis Hamilton and Lionel Messi, the world’s greatest footballer, were declared joint winners of the prestigious Laureus World […] Read more

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MDL Beast Festival Unveils Saudi’s Emerging EDM Music Scene To The World

Riyadh 11th December 2019 – MDL Beast Festival today introduces the growing Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene in Saudi Arabia to a global audience. A selection of local DJs and artists playing at the festival, taking place 19-21 December 2019, including Saudi’s first female DJ Cosmicat, DJ Baloo, DJs DISH DASH, DJ & Producer Vinyl Mode, DJs & producers K.Led & Majid and producer Dalal discuss the power of music and what it means to them and the Saudi youth. 

As the biggest and most groundbreaking music, art and culture focused event since the opening up of the country’s entertainment industry, MDL Beast Festival gives local talent the opportunity to burst onto the international stage. It’s the first time many local DJs will have the opportunity to perform alongside some of the global EDM scene’s best known artists including David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Tiësto, Camelphat, R3hab and many more. 

“We have a lot of artists here in Saudi Arabia. Giving them this platform to show the world what Saudis are capable of, is everything. The whole country is going through a huge change actually,” comments Saudi DJ Cosmicat

“It’s a milestone for the country, it’s a new era for the Saudi youth. This is such a tremendous moment. MDL Beast is a monumental statement in the middle of the peninsula – it can only show goodness of what’s about to come,” said DJs & Producers K.Led & Majid 

“The music scene in Saudi Arabia in general has been skyrocketing – you’ve got the DJs, producers, musicians… The MDL Beast story is definitely a unique one” said DESERTFISH, DJ & Producer.

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World Renowned DJs David Guetta, Tiesto & R3hab Set To Headline First MDL Beast Festival

The world’s greatest international DJs will unite in Riyad in December 2019 

6th DECEMBER 2019: Tickets for Riyad’s biggest party – MDL Beast – the region’s largest music and cultural festival are now on sale. The inaugural festival taking place from 19-21 December 2019, is set to deliver the most jaw dropping line up ever to be seen in the Saudi Arabian capital. Hear world renowned DJs talk about the rise of dance music, as well as the impact of the forthcoming festival.

David Guetta, Tiesto and R3hab discuss their love of dance music and it’s universal appeal and how they plan to mix Arabian classics into their sets in unique ways at the three-day cultural event in Saudi Arabia.

MDL Beast Festival will feature a world-leading global music line-up with 18 global superstar headliners, 28 international dance acts and 24 local and regional performers, including global EDM and DJ stars, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki and R3hab, alongside the biggest homegrown Saudi artists, including the country’s first female EDM DJ, Cosmicat, and the Saudi DJ duo, Dish Dash.

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