Celebrated Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman will be among the special guests at the 2011 Laureus World Sports Awards to be staged in Abu Dhabi on the Monday evening and hosted by double Oscar winner Kevin Spacey.
Ronan Keating, who has sold more than 20 million records worldwide as a solo artist since leaving Boyzone, will be performing on stage.
He said: “I’m a big sports fan and it’s just great to be able to attend the Laureus Awards for the first time and to be able to sing for such a special audience. I will be cheering for all the winners of the Awards, I know what a big night it will be for them, and I also totally empathise with the charity side of Laureus. I’ve tried to do what I can in my life to give something back to society and to help people and I know this is the real driving force behind Laureus through its Sport for Good Foundation. I am delighted to do what I can to help.”
Also present will be Spanish actresses Elsa Pataky, who has appeared in 18 films in France and Spain and also played Elsa in the Samuel L Jackson film Snakes on a Plane, and Paz Vega, who was a star of 7 Vidas, a series billed as a Spanish Friends and has appeared in films such as Spanglish, The Spirit and co-starred with Morgan Freeman in 10 Items or Less.
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement, 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 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled at the globally televised Awards Ceremony at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Among the latest sports stars to confirm they will be attending is tennis world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki. Other stars of sport past and present include: Mohammed Al Deayea, Daniel Dias, Jakub Krako, Gary Player, Bashar Al Salem, Mick Doohan, Sabri Lamouchi, Morné du Plessis, Giacomo Agostini, Victor Fernandez, Jari Litmanen, Hugo Porta, Vitor Baia, Mark Fish, Tegla Loroupe, Carlos Queiroz, Layne Beachley, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh, Lucas Radebe, Franz Beckenbauer, Jacque Fourie, Glenn McGrath, Steve Redgrave, Boris Becker, Dawn Fraser, Barry McGuigan, Manuel Sanchis, Verena Bentele, Frankie Fredericks, Steve McManaman, Ryan Sandes, Thomas Berthold, Jan Frodeno, Rabah Madjer, Ralf Schumacher, Jamie Bestwick, Stephanie Gilmore, Matteo Manassero, Monica Seles, Baichung Bhutia, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Ismail Matar, Kelly Slater, Ronald de Boer, Oscar Pistorius, Bora Milutinovic, Emma Snowsill, Florian Boitin, Karl-Heinz Riedle, Colin Montgomerie, Mark Spitz, Annabelle Bond, Marvellous Marvin Hagler, Edwin Moses, Michael Teuber, Martin Braxenthaler, Mika Hakkinen, Carlos Moya, Daley Thompson, Fabio Cannavaro, Tony Hawk, Nawal El Moutawakel, Pieter Van den Hoogenband, Guido Cappellini, Ivan Helguera, Rafael Nadal, Esther Vergeer, Bobby Charlton, Kelly Holmes, Hidetoshi Nakata, Patrick Viera, Nadia Comaneci, Christian Karembeu, Robby Naish, Blanka Vlasic, Alastair Cook, Martin Kaymer, Ilie Nastase, Steve Waugh, Fernando Couto, Kip Keino, Alexey Nemov, Lauren Woolstencroft, Matt Cowdrey, Taig Khris, Antonios Nikopolidis, Caroline Wozniacki, Edgar Davids, Franz Klammer, Louis Oosthuizen, Dwight Yorke, Marcel Desailly, Wladimir Klitschko, Jean-Marie Pfaff, Gianfranco Zola and Frankie Dettori.
The Laureus World Sports Awards is returning to Abu Dhabi thanks to the support of Aabar Investments PJS, who will once again be Host Partner for the event.
Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Aabar, said: “The Laureus World Sports Awards is a unique event. It was magnificent, a great success for Abu Dhabi when it was held here last March. The whole event was really superb. We will certainly try to do something special for this year’s Awards.”
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which supports 83 community sports projects around the world. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €40 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people.
The full list of Nominees for the 2011 Laureus World Sports Awards is:
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year - Kobe Bryant (US, basketball), Andres Iniesta (Spain, football), Lionel Messi (Argentina, football), Rafael Nadal (Spain, tennis), Manny Pacquiao (Philippines, boxing), Sebastian Vettel (Germany, motor racing)
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year - Kim Clijsters (Belgium, tennis), Jessica Ennis (UK, athletics), Blanka Vlasic (Croatia, athletics), Lindsey Vonn (US, skiing), Serena Williams (US, tennis), Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark, tennis)
Laureus World Team of the Year - All Blacks (New Zealand, rugby), European Ryder Cup Team (golf), Inter Milan (Italy, football), Los Angeles Lakers (US, basketball), Red Bull Formula One Team (Austria), Spain World Cup Team (football)
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year - Martin Kaymer (Germany, golf), Christophe Lemaitre (France, athletics), Matteo Manassero (Italy, golf), Thomas Muller (Germany, football), Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa, golf), Teddy Tamgho (France, athletics)
Laureus World Comeback of the Year - Paula Creamer (US, golf), Tyson Gay (US, athletics), Justine Henin (Belgium, tennis), Carolina Kluft (Sweden, athletics), Merlene Ottey (Slovenia, athletics), Valentino Rossi (Italy, motor cycling)
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability - Verena Bentele (Germany, skiing/biathlon), Matt Cowdrey (Australia, swimming), Daniel Dias (Brazil, swimming), Jakub Krako (Slovakia, skiing), Esther Vergeer (Netherlands, wheelchair tennis), Lauren Woolstencroft (Canada, skiing)
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year - Jamie Bestwick (UK, BMX), Victor Fernandez (Spain, windsurfing), Stephanie Gilmore (Australia, surfing), Levi Sherwood (New Zealand, freestyle moto-cross), Kelly Slater (US, surfing), Shaun White (US, snowboarding)