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Pieter du Preez among favourites to win at Laureus World Awards

Du Preez won double gold at the para-cycling World Championships, to be ranked number 1 in the world.

The wheelchair and sports gear of quadriplegic athlete Pieter du Preez stand next to the swimming pool during one of his training sessions. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

BERLIN - South Africa tasted success at the Laureus World Sports Awards as recently as last year when Schalk Burger was awarded the comeback of the year award following his return to the Springbok fold following a life-threatening illness.

Tonight, among the stars including Usain Bolt, Serena Williams and Lewis Hamilton, there once again will be a strong South African element.

Pieter du Preez will be among the favourites to win the Sportsperson of the Year with a disability at tonight's glittering event.

The inspiring 35-year-old, paralysed from the chest down after being knocked off his bicycle while training, won double gold at the para-cycling World Championships, to be ranked number 1 in the world, while also being completely dominant in his category in wheelchair racing last year.

While nominated in the action sportsperson of the year is Jan Frodeno of Germany up against the likes of surfer Mick Fanning.

He spent his teenage years in Cape Town, where he learnt to swim and fell in love with triathlon while attending the German school.

He won the 2008 Olympic gold in Beijing before going on to win the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii last year, becoming the first person to ever achieve this unique double.