Schumi, Sorenstam win awards

Associated Press

Lisbon, May 11:

Michael Schumacher was named Sportsman of the Year for the second time in three years on Monday, while Annika Sorenstam picked up the Sportswoman of the Year title.

Schumacher, of Germany, won a record sixth Formula One title in 2003 and Swedish golfer Sorenstam completed a career Grand Slam on the LPGA Tour. The awards were announced at the annual Laureus World Sports Academy prize-giving ceremony in the Portuguese capital.

On Sunday, Schumacher won the Spanish Grand Prix, equaling a record of five consecutive wins set by Nigel Mansell of Britain in 1992.

The German won the vote ahead of other sporting greats, including American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who is pursuing a record-breaking sixth consecutive Tour de France win this year; Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, who won more tennis events than any other ATP player in 2003; 18-year-old American swimmer Michael Phelps; Italian motorcycling champ Valentino Rossi and Jonny Wilkinson, whose late goal gave England rugby team its first WC trophy. Sorenstam, who was the first woman to play in a men’s US tour event in 58 years when she took part in the Colonial, was nominated for the women’s award the last two years but had never won. The prizes were selected in voting by 400 sports journalists from more than 70 countries.

Michelle Wie, a 14-year-old golfer from the US, took home the Newcomer of the Year award. The Hawaii-born amateur last year made the cut five times, including at the US Women’s Open. England’s rugby team collected the World Team of the Year prize for becoming the first northern hemisphere country to win the world title last November. Austrian skier Hermann Maier bagged the Comeback of the Year trophy for his recovery from a motorcycle accident in August 2001, which he barely survived. Layne Beachley of Australia, who last year became the first surfer to win six world titles in a row, was voted Alternative Sportsperson of the Year. Canadian sprinter Earle Connor won the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award for breaking four world records in six days last year.