“We were certainly not expecting it, especially coming from a country where sports aren’t really professional. It’s more of a hobby and we really need to go to our jobs and then do this in our free time so we’re truly humbled and privileged to be standing here on this podium. It means a lot to us.”
Multi-Paralympic champion Henrieta Farkasova and her guide Natalia Subrtova were among the big winners of the 2019 Laureus World Sports Award during a star-studded Monday night in Monaco. In a ceremony filled with top-class athletes headlined by world tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the Slovakian vision impaired alpine skier was named Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
Farkasova was the most decorated Paralympian at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games, winning four gold medals in the downhill, giant slalom, super combined and super-G, plus a silver in slalom. With guide Subrtova, she also won the season-long Overall World Cup prize.
“We were certainly not expecting it, especially coming from a country where sports aren’t really professional,” Farkasova said. “It’s more of a hobby and we really need to go to our jobs and then do this in our free time so we’re truly humbled and privileged to be standing here on this podium. It means a lot to us.”
Dutch wheelchair tennis player Diede de Groot, Canadian cross-country skier Brian McKeever, US cross-country skier Oksana Masters, Greek boccia player Greg Polychronidis and German long jumper Markus Rehm were also up for the award.
The evening continued to recognise the achievements of people with an impairment.
Inspirational Chinese climber Xia Boyu was publicly voted as the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year. Xia became only the second double-amputee to scale Everest, and the first to reach the summit from the Nepalese side.
Dutch snowboarder Bibian Mentel-Spee was also in attendance, as she was one of six athletes shortlisted for the Comeback of the Year honour.
The other winners were:
• Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
• Sportswoman of the Year: Simone Biles
• Comeback of the Year: Tiger Woods
• Team of the Year: French World Cup Team
• Breakthrough of the Year: Naomi Osaka
• Action Sportsperson of the Year: Chloe Kim
• Academy Exceptional Achievement: Eliud Kipchoge
• Sport for Good: Yuwa
• Spirit for Sport: Lindsey Vonn
• Lifetime Achievement Award: Arsene Wenger