Lionel Messi and Liverpool are among the front-runners for prizes at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday.

Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

Sportsman of the Year

Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
Lionel Messi – Football
Marc Marquez – MotoGP
Rafael Nadal – Tennis
Tiger Woods – Golf

Sportswoman of the Year

Allyson Felix – Athletics
Megan Rapinoe – Football
Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
Simone Biles – Gymnastics

 

Team of the Year

Liverpool – Football
Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
South Africa – Rugby Union
Spain – Basketball
Toronto Raptors – Basketball
United States Women – Football

Breakthrough of the Year

Andy Ruiz – Boxing
Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Coco Gauff – Tennis
Egan Bernal – Cycling
Japan – Rugby Union
Regan Smith – Swimming

 

Comeback of the Year

Andy Murray – Tennis
Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
Liverpool – Football
Nathan Adrian – Swimming
Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Alice Tai – Swimming
Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
Jetze Plat – Triathlon
Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
Omara Durand – Athletics

 

Action Sportsperson of the year

Carissa Moore – Surfing
Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
Italo Ferreira – Surfing
Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

Janieve Russell and Stephenie-Ann McPherson’s Muller Indoor Grand Prix experience was something they would both want to forget.

On Saturday in Glasgow, McPherson had a stumble and coincidence would have it that she clipped her Jamaican teammate, Russell, leaving neither with a chance of earning a podium finish in the 400 metres at the Grand Prix.

McPherson did not finish the race, while Russell would end fifth in a pedantic time of 60.87 seconds. There were six entrants.

The race was won by Great Britain’s Jessie Knight, who clocked 51.57 seconds. She finished ahead of Poland’s Justyna Święty-Ersetic, who hit the tape in a time of 51.68.

The Netherlands’ Lisanne de Witte was well back in third, clocking 53.25 seconds, while Polish runner, Iga Baumgart-Witan was fourth in 53.97 seconds.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has taken her good form from last season when she won the women’s 100 metres at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics indoors, winning the Muller Indoor Grand Prix 60-metre in Glasgow on Saturday.

Fraser-Pryce was in good company when she won the event in 7.16 seconds ahead of Côte d'Ivoire’s Muriel Ahouré, who hit the line in 7.22.

Also lining up in Glasgow on Saturday was Jamaica’s Natasha Morrison, who after showing some potential, has gone through two very lean seasons.  

Morrison was well back in third, finishing in 7.30 seconds. The Jamaican hit the tape ahead of Great Britain’s Amy Hunt, 7.36.

Hunt’s countrymate Ama Pipi was fifth in 7.42 while Katarzyna Sokólska of Poland was sixth in 7.44.

Rounding out the eight were Slovenia’s Maja Mihalinec, 7.46, and the Netherland’s Naomi Sydney, 7.52.

Two Jamaicans, Akeem Bloomfield and Nathon Allen, had contrasting outings at this weekend’s Muller Indoor Grand Prix meeting in Glasgow over 400 metres.

Bloomfield was an easy winner, clocking 46.20 seconds, to get the better of the United States’ Obi Igbokwe, 46.41, and Kuwait’s Yousef Karam, 46.49.

Allen, however, who is returning from an injury that stopped him from finding his way to last year’s IAAF World Championships of Athletics, found the going tough and rounded out the eight-man field in 47.89 seconds.

Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslák, 46.51, and Great Britain’s James Williams, 47.26, were the other athletes to finish ahead of Allen.

Retired Jamaica sprint legend Usain Bolt admits to missing the sport of athletics and once mulled the idea of coming out of retirement but was convinced he had made the right decision by his former coach Glen Mills.

Bolt, considered in many arenas as the greatest sprinter of all time, amassed stellar achievements in a career that lasted well over a decade.  In addition to holding the world record over both the 100m and 200m sprints, the Jamaican claimed 8 Olympic gold and 11 World Championship medals.

His soaring career might, however, be said to have ended on somewhat of a low after finishing third at the 2017 World Championships and failing to finish in the 4x100m relay. 

 "I talked to my track coach," Bolt told CNN Sport's Coy Wire. "And he was like, 'No, you're not doing it. People that retire and come back -- it doesn't always work out.'

The sprinter, who suffers from scoliosis of the spine, was quick to admit that he also did not miss the grueling training needed to compete at the highest level.

"For me, at the end I knew it was time because the drive wasn't there. But every time I watch track and field I miss it. And every time I go to the track to see my coach and I watch him training I go, 'Did I make the right decision?' ... But every time I train with them I think, 'Ah yeah I made the right decision. I don't miss this.'"

Dave Williams, the legal advisor to the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee Brian Lewis, believes they have a good chance of having the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturn the two-year ban imposed on Michelle Lee Ahye for whereabouts violations.

Former sprinter and Jamaica’s most decorated male sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt, has added his take on whether Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl-winning wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, can make the U.S. Olympic team as a sprinter.

Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle, after winning the long jump at last year’s IAAF World Championships of Athletics, is now making a serious push at earning a spot at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan as a sprinter.

Gayle showed he was not joking when he said he might try the sprints when he turned up at the Milo Western Relays last week but could only manage a fifth-place finish in a race won by former World Record holder over 100 metres, Asafa Powell.

The placing and the time, 6.87 seconds, is not a deterrent to Gayle, as he went into the race without any significant expectations.

 “The time doesn’t really matter, I would have been satisfied with anything, even 7.0. I’m just here to get competition and experience in sprinting,” said Gayle in an interview with Jamaican Newspaper, The Gleaner.

According to Gayle, the idea that he could be making the Olympic team as both sprinter and long jumper is something that is the brainchild of his coach Paul Francis.

Francis is playing the situation by ear, saying sprinting is a part of jumping, so the process of racing would always have been included in his traditional training.

But he isn’t ruling out the possibility though.

“I can’t predict the future, we’re just trying our best to prepare him. And what will happen will happen at the Trials,” said Francis, coach at MVP Track Club and brother of the famous Stephen Francis.

Gayle though is already finding it difficult to straddle the two events, saying he hasn’t been able to work on certain technical issues like his start because he has had to focus on his jumping.

“Within technical sessions, I’m doing jumps while others are sprinting, so I don’t get the chance to work on it a lot,” he said.

Despite that, the World Champion believes his coach knows what he is capable of, even better than he does.

"If my coach says I can do it, I guess I can," he said.

Having broken the 100m world record twice, won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, bronze medals at World Championships and breaking the 10-second barrier a record 97 times in a career that has spanned almost two decades, Asafa Powell will perhaps go down as one of the greatest sprinters in history.

Asafa Powell returned to winning ways on Saturday by taking the men's 60m at the 42nd edition of the Milo Western Relays at GC Foster College at Angels, St Catherine on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Powell of MVP Track Club clocked 6.73 seconds to beat Sprintec Lions' Andrew Fisher in a close finish in section one of the three-section race. Fisher was also credited with the same time as Powell.

Powell was one of the most dominant sprinters of his era, consistently breaking the 10-second barrier and twice setting the world 100m record in 2005 and 2008. The second time he did it with a blazing 9.74 seconds.

Powell also won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the Rio Olympics and competed in three Summer Games.

A statue of the sprinter is set to be unveiled at Statue Park inside Independence Park Ltd on Sunday.

European champion Armand Duplantis set a new pole vault world record in Poland on Saturday.

The 20-year-old cleared 6.17 metres at the Orlen Copernicus Cup in Torun, the fourth leg of the World Athletics Indoor Tour.

Duplantis, who won silver at last year's World Athletics Championships, cleared the bar at his second attempt with his sixth jump of the competition.

"It's something that I wanted since I was three years old," said the Swede. "It's a big year, but it's a good way to start it."

The previous record of 6.16m was set by 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie back in 2014.

Sports Minister Olivia Grange says all is set for the unveiling of the statue of Jamaican Olympian Asafa Powell on Sunday, February 9.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness will unveil the statue in a special ceremony at Statue Park in the National Stadium, beginning at 5:00 pm.

Minister Grange has invited the public to attend the ceremony and witness the unveiling of the statue.

Minister Grange said: “This is the final of four statues that we commissioned as part of the Jamaica 55 Legacy programme to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding athletes.

The statues not only highlight Jamaican athletic success but will serve as inspiration for all of us about what is possible when we try.

So I invite as many people as possible to join us on Sunday and celebrate with Asafa.

”The renowned Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson was engaged by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport to design statues in honour of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell.

All is set for Sunday’s unveiling of the statue of Asafa Powell at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

Omar McLeod, the 2016 World Indoor 60m hurdles champion, will not compete at this weekend’s Millrose Games at the Armoury in New York.

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