Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt, Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sebastian Vettel are among the top favourites vying for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, to be announced in Kuala Lumpur on March 26. The list of contenders also includes Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, NBA player LeBron James, long-distance runner Mo Farah of Britain and Chinese swimmer Sun Yang.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, now celebrating its 15th year, is recognised as the premier honours event in the international sporting calendar.
The names of the six nominees for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, as voted by the Laureus Media Selection Panel, will be announced later this month and the winner will be unveiled at a ceremony on March 26.
The awards recognise sporting achievement during the calendar year 2013. The awards will also be decided in six other categories by the jury comprising leading sports editors, sports writers, broadcasters and online journalists from around the world.
The list of nominations for the awards includes boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr and Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine, Rugby player Kieran Read, gymnast Kohei Uchimura of Japan, British rider Chris Froome and Austria's Alpine racer Marcel Hirscher.
"Whoever is nominated, it's going to be one of the closest contests ever for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award. You have a great star like Usain Bolt, from my own sport of track and field, trying to equal the record of four Laureus Awards, but you also have some wonderful feats from so many sportsmen in so many sports. There is quality everywhere," said Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman and Olympic legend Edwin Moses.