Messi, Hamilton jointly crowned Laureus sportsman of the year

US gymnast Simone Biles wins women's award for third time, as Barcelona striker and Mercedes driver get equal fan votes.

    Messi, Hamilton jointly crowned Laureus sportsman of the year
    Awards were handed out in 11 different categories at a ceremony at Verti Music Hall in Berlin, Germany [Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]

    Football star Lionel Messi and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton were declared joint winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, while the US gymnast Simone Biles won her third women's title. 

    The Argentinian forward and British Mercedes driver won the same number of votes from fans worldwide sharing the men's award for the first time in the event's 20-year history.

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    Messi, a six-time Ballon d'Or winner, became the first football player to get the award after steering Barcelona to its 26th Spanish league title, while Hamilton won his sixth Formula One championship in 2019.

    "I have been inspired by so many of you," said Hamilton, who was handed the award by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger at a ceremony in the German capital, Berlin on Monday evening.

    Messi did not travel to Berlin for the prize but sent a video message.

    The Laureus World Sports Awards are the only worldwide awards event to recognise the best athletes of the past year in various categories.

    Simone Biles, 22, who became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history when she won her 25th medal last year, won her third Sportswoman of the Year gong after previously winning the award in 2017 and 2019.

    The South African rugby team, which won the World Cup in Japan last year for the third time in history, were crowned Team of the Year, beating European football champions Liverpool and women's football World Cup winners the United States.

    20th Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin
    South Africa Rugby Union Team members pose after winning the Laureus World Team of the Year award in Berlin, Germany [Annegret Hilse/Reuters]

    Former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar, the highest scorer of all time in international cricket, had the support of a cricket-crazy nation to win a fan vote for the award for the Best Sporting Moment from the last two decades.

    In 2011, in his sixth and final World Cup appearance, Tendulkar led India to its first win on home soil and second overall.

    2020 winners:

    Sportsman of the Year: Lewis Hamilton and Lionel Messi

    Sportswoman of the Year: Simone Biles

    Team of the Year: South Africa Men's Rugby Team

    Breakthrough of the Year: Egan Bernal

    Comeback of the Year: Sophia Floersch

    Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oksana Masters

    Action Sportsperson of the Year: Chloe Kim

    Best Sporting Moment:  Sachin Tendulkar

    Lifetime Achievement Award: Dirk Nowitzki

    Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award: Spanish Basketball Federation

    Laureus Sport for Good Award: South Bronx United

    SOURCE: News agencies