Emma Raducanu ‘s stunning rise in tennis has seen her land the Breakthrough of the Year award at the 2022 Laureus World Sports Awards .
She beat fellow nominees including tennis star and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Barcelona footballer Pedri, Olympic champions Yulimar Rojas, Neeraj Chopra and Ariarne Titmus. The world number 11 appeared in a video clip to accept the award and share her gratitude at being chosen as the winner.
Former tennis star Li Na, who was a part of the panel that chose Raducanu to be the winner, sent the teen a congratulatory message. The British number one would respond: “Wow. Thank you so much Li Na. It means a lot to get this message from you.
“You’ve been a huge inspiration to me all of my career and I remember watching you, so thank you very much.” Raducanu was one of three Brits to win a gong at the ceremony, as Sky Brown, who suffered a serious injury in 2020 before taking bronze at the Tokyo Olympics aged just 13, took home the Comeback of the Year award.
The likes of Tom Daley and Mark Cavendish were nominated for the Comeback of the Year, but were pipped by Olympic bronze medalist Brown. “This is insane,” she said with the prestigious trophy in hand. “It means so much to receive this award and I really want to congratulate my other Nominees.
“I feel like it’s been a really great year for me but I’ve still got a lot of work to do. I had some ups and downs, falling, having a pretty bad accident and getting back up. I feel like the falling just pushed me [to succeed]. I’m so thankful for everything.”
And finally Bethany Shriever, a Tokyo gold medallist in BMX, won the Action Sportsperson award. She received her prize from Sir Chris Hoy and was honoured to be recognised for her achievements. “Honestly, I just thought being nominated was special enough but to win it. Wow, what an absolute honour,” she said.
“Just want to say a massive massive thank you to the Laureus Academy for all voting for me and for me to actually just get this award, I’m so so proud.”
Elsewhere, Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen was crowned Sportsman of the Year award, while the women’s award was won by Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah, who took gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in Tokyo.