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Ennis named World Sportswoman of the Year

ESPN staff
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Jessica Ennis may switch to hurdles in Rio

A host of Great Britain's sports stars celebrated a successful night in Rio de Janeiro, with Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray and Sebastian Coe all receiving prestigious awards at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

Ennis, who stormed to heptathlon gold at last summer's London 2012 Olympics with a haul of 6,955 points, was named Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year at the Theatro Municipal.

Murray received the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year award following a superb summer which saw him win Olympic gold in the singles, silver in the mixed doubles before going on to claim his first ever grand slam title at the US Open last September.

Chairman of the London 2012 organising committee Lord Coe won the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.

With Rio set to host the 2016 Olympic Games, Ennis spoke of what it was like competing in her home country and what she felt the next Games had in store.

"Not every athlete gets to experience that, so I do feel lucky to have had that opportunity," Ennis said. "I don't think I'll have that kind of pressure again. It was a good experience, everything went well, and I'm sure it will be completely different for Rio.

"I think [Rio 2016] will be incredible - that amazing carnival feel, and obviously the weather is great. I think it will be pretty spectacular.''

World No. 3 Murray hailed an incredible year and was quick to praise the inspiration that Team GB and its fans had on his game.

"It was an amazing year - my first grand slam in New York and two medals at the Olympics in my home country," Murray said. "I would have taken that at the start of the year, that's for sure.

"The British team had such a great Olympics and I watched loads of medals being won by the British athletes. I think I was motivated by that. The support the whole British team received during the Olympics was incredible.

"Winning an award like this will definitely make me more determined to come back and do better next year.''

A fantastic year of sport for Great Britain was further celebrated after the European Ryder Cup Team, featuring seven UK golfers, were awarded the Laureus World Team of the Year title for their remarkable 'Miracle of Medinah' comeback against the United States last September.

Elsewhere, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was crowned World Sportsman of the Year for a third time after his hat-trick of gold medals in London while Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympic swimmer of all time with 22 medals, was granted the Exceptional Achievement Award.

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