IN LESS than a week, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will find out if she can add the prestigious Laureus Statuette to the historic silver salver she won on Centre Court last July, after beating Maria Sharapova in the ladies’ final.
The Czech Republic’s Kvitova is one of the favourites to win the 2012 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award – and at 21 she would be the youngest ever to do so.
The winners of all Laureus World Sports Awards will be revealed during a spectacular celebration of the sporting heroes of 2011 at Central Hall, Westminster, on Monday 6 February.
These are the most valued awards in sport because the winners are chosen by the 47 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, all living legends.
Interestingly, among them is tennis great Martina Navratilova, who was Kvitova’s childhood hero.
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(Czech Republic) Tennis
At 21, beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets to win Wimbledon, her first Grand Slam. Her other highlight came in October when she won the WTA Championships in Istanbul, beating Victoria Azarenka in three sets. Left-handed Kvitova is known for her powerful serve.
Established herself as one of the great distance runners by her generation after winning 5,000m and 10,000m gold at the World Championships. In the 5,000m, she ran a final kilometre of 2 mins 41.76 secs, the fastest in the competition’s history. Also won the World Cross-Country Championship.
(United States) Athletics
Became the fastest woman in the world when she won the 100m gold medal at the World Championships in Daegu in August. Jeter added more gold by helping the USA win the 4x100m relay and also took silver in the 200m. Currently holds three of the top 10 100m times ever run.
Captained Japan to its first ever Women's World Cup win, beating the United States 3-1 in a penalty shootout in the final. She was also awarded the Golden Boot for being the leading scorer and the Golden Ball for being the top player. Sawa has played more than 170 times for Japan.
(Germany) Alpine Skiing
Won Alpine skiing World Cup for the first time, after battling with Lindsey Vonn, pipping her rival by three points. During the season she won seven times – two Downhills at Lake Louise and another at Cortina, a Slalolm at Flachau, a Super Combined and a Super G at Are and the Nations Team Event at Lenzerheide.
The star of women’s golf in 2011. At just 22, won two Majors and headed the LPGA money list by almost US$1.5m. She was LPGA Player of the Year for the second straight time. The youngest player, male or female, to win five Majors. In 2011, she also won eight other tournaments.