LISBON, May 19: Pakistan and India won a special award during the fifth Laureus World Sports Awards for the year 2004 for holding the cricket series , the best sporting event which turned the atmosphere from confrontation to goodwill between the two countries.

The ceremony was graced by renowned cricket legends Ian Botham of England and Australia's Steve Waugh, who presented the award to the representatives from both Pakistan and India.

Duaro Barroso, Prime Minister of Portugal, was the special guest at the event last week. The awards are the ultimate recognition of sporting excellence across all disciplines and achievements.

Apart from the awards for excellent performance round the year in sports, the academy also volunteers the services as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sports for Good foundation, the charitable arm of the Laureus World Sports Awards.

In this respect a special award is designated for any sports event which brings about good to the benefit of the people. The anchorperson in his remarks recalled that two years ago both India and Pakistan were almost on the brink of nuclear conflict.

However, the recent cricket series played between the two countries led to the change of the atmosphere from confrontation to goodwill. He said that therefore the academy had the honour to award this cricket series to Pakistan and India as the best sporting event for good during 2004.

The award will be in India for the first six months and will then be transferred to Pakistan for the remaining six months. Inzamamul Haq, the Pakistan captain, could not travel to Lisbon, because of some administrative delays in issuance of visa to him by the Portuguese Embassy in Islamabad.

The Ambassador of Pakistan to Portugal received the award on behalf of his country. Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Ambassador Shireen Safdar said that the cricket series was part of the normalisation process between the two countries and had helped in developing goodwill between the people. -Agencies

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