F1 legend: Rosberg should pip Wayde for Laureus award

Wayde van Niekerk (Gallo Images)
Wayde van Niekerk (Gallo Images)

Monaco - Wayde van Niekerk won't find himself in the same conversation as Nico Rosberg very often, but the 18th Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco have provided an exception.

South Africa's Van Niekerk is nominated for the Breakthrough of the Year award at Tuesday night's ceremony following his stunning gold medal in the 400m at last year's Rio Olympics.

Van Niekerk shocked the world when he smashed Michael Johnson's 17-year-old record in a performance that even left Usain Bolt with his jaw dropped.

It was a night to remember, and South Africans will find it hard to justify giving this award to Formula One driver Nico Rosberg instead. 

Rosberg won his maiden drivers' world championship in 2016, shocking the year's favourite - and his team-mate - Lewis Hamilton in the process.

As South Africans may be biased towards Van Niekerk in picking their winner for the award, so too is F1 legend David Coulthard. 

"I’m going to obviously be loyal to motorsport," the Scotsman said with an honest smile.

“If I look at what Nico has managed to finally do, it is only now that we see how much he had to detach himself from regular family life in the way he was preparing. 

"I can relate to it because I once upon a time tried to win a world championship as well and I tried everything that was open to me."

Rosberg dropped a bombshell on the F1 community when, at just 31, he retired from the sport soon after being crowned world champion.

“To beat someone like Lewis Hamilton in the same car... even with a bit of fortune here and there... you still have to be in it and take your opportunities,” Coulthard added.

“I don’t think either would be undeserving but I think with a true world championship across an entire season, there’s probably been more people watching that (Rosberg's) journey.”

Another front-runner for the award is surely Leicester City, who overcame 5 000/1 odds to win the English Premiership in 2015/16.

Fiji's Sevens side (Rio winners), Iceland's football team (Euro 2016 quarter-finals) and long-distance runner Almaz Ayana (Rio gold) are also nominated. 

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