By Joanne Bladd
US actor to join top names like Hugh Grant and Michelle Rodriguez in 'Oscars of sport'.
Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey will front a star-studded line-up at a global sports event set to be held in Abu Dhabi this Wednesday.
The US film star, who made his name in Oscar-winning movies such as The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, will join top names including Hugh Grant, Clive Owen and Michelle Rodriguez in the UAE capital at the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards.
The 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards mark the achievements of some of the biggest names in the industry, and are widely known as ‘the Oscars of sport’. Categories include World Comeback of the Year, World Team of the Year, and Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.
Among those fighting it out for the title World Sportsman of the Year is last year’s winner, sprinter Usain Bolt and four-time award winner Roger Federer. The pair will be facing off against FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and Italy's seven-time senior MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi.
Two-time Laureus winner Serena Williams is nominated for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award after winning two Grand Slam titles in 2009. Also short-listed are swimmers Federica Pellegrini and Britta Steffen, athletes Shelly-Ann Fraser and Sanya Richards, and US ski racer Lindsey Vonn.
The televised event, hosted by Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace, will mark the first time the ceremony has been held in the Middle East.
The awards are judged by members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which includes more than forty of the world’s biggest sporting brands. Likely to be in attendance at the event are World Heavweight Champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, South Africa rugby coach Peter de Villiers; and American 400 metres World Champion Sanya Richards.
The line-up is also expected to feature cricket legends Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff and Steve Waugh from Australia, Iranian tennis star Mansour Bahram and ex-South African Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar.