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Seb, Missy hog the limelight

Sebastian Vettel

Kuala Lumpur: Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel and American swimming sensation Missy Franklin were named Laureus Sportsman and Woman of the Year on Wednesday in a ceremony filled with tributes to those affected by the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.

Nearly all of the seven winners at the lavish awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur remarked on flight MH370, which went missing 18 days ago with 239 passengers and crew on board after leaving Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak opened the ceremony, after a moment’s silence, and talked about the strength his nation could take from the achievements of the nominees.

Malaysia had stepped in to host the ceremony — which featured a performance from Grammy-winning singer and actor Jamie Foxx and was hosted by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch — after Rio de Janeiro was dropped amid local reports that the Brazilian state government owed Laureus money.

“It’s a big honour. It’s one of the most special trophies I have received,” Vettel said after being selected by the Laureus Academy.

Rafael Nadal completed a hat-trick of Laureus awards after he took the Comeback of the Year prize. Bayern Munich were named World Team of The Year, while MotoGP champion Marc Marquez took the Breakthrough of the Year prize. Marie Bochet, the French paralympic skier, was named sportsperson of the year with a disability, with Jamie Bestwick named World Action Sportsperson of the Year. (Agencies)