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Bolt, Phelps nominated for Laureus award

April 18, 2009

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LONDON, April 17 Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps were among the nominees on Thursday for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award.

The other contenders are Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, French Open and Wimbledon winner Rafael Nadal, FIFA world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi.

Roger Federer, who won an unprecedented fourth Laureus last year, was not nominated. The Swiss tennis player lost his No 1 ranking to Nadal last year and has since struggled to return to his best level.

At the Beijing Games last summer, Phelps won eight gold medals to break Mark Spitz's record of seven titles in a single Olympics. Bolt set world records in the 100 and 200 metres in Beijing and was part of the Jamaican team that broke the world mark in the 400-meter relay.

Hamilton became the youngest ever Formula One world champion at the age of 23.

Lindsey Vonn was among the nominees for the Sportswoman of the Year award. The American alpine skier won her first overall World Cup title last year, and repeated the feat this season.Ethiopian runner Tirunesh Dibaba, who became the first woman to win the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the same Olympics, was also nominated.

Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice and Wimbledon champion Venus Williams are the other athletes on the list.

Spain's national football team was nominated for the World Team of the year award for winning the European Championship. The Boston Celtics were also on the list after winning a record 17th NBA title, along with Champions League winner Manchester United, the Jamaican sprint team, China's entire Olympic squad and the British Olympic cycling team.

Serbian tennis players Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic were among the nominees for the World Breakthrough of the year.

Djokovic, 21, won his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open while Ivanovic claimed her first major at the French Open. US golfer Anthony Kim, British swimmer Rebecca Adlington, German F1 driver Sebastian Vettel and Chinese gymnast Zou Kai rounded out the list.

The nominees were chosen by international sports journalists. The winners will be selected by members of the Laureus Sports Academy, and will receive their awards at individual presentations during May and June.—AP