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Federer aces with fourth Swiss sports award

Roger Federer was pleased to receive the award from his home country

(Keystone)

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer and orienteering champion Simone Niggli-Luder have again been voted athletes of the year by the public at the national sports awards.

Also successful in the team category was Alinghi, which won the America's Cup sailing race in the summer – despite Switzerland being a landlocked country.

Five times Wimbledon champion and number one tennis seed Federer has now won the Best Sportsman award a record-equalling four times. For Niggli-Luder, also number one worldwide in her sport, this is the third time as Best Sportswoman.

The results were announced at a ceremony in the Swiss capital, Bern, on Saturday evening.

Federer, who was previously honoured in 2003, 2004 and 2006, was up against world time trial champion cyclist Fabian Cancellara and marathon runner Viktor Röthlin.

"It is always an incredible feeling to win these awards from my home country, even if people always say I'm the big favourite," said Federer in live video link up from his training camp in Dubai.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion follows former cyclist Tony Rominger as a four-time winner of the award.

He was congratulated via video messages from tennis stars of the past – Björn Borg, Roy Emerson and Pete Sampras.

Federer is still aiming to beat Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles.

"It is amazing to here messages like that," Federer said. "And of course breaking Pete's record would be a dream for me."

"Everyone says I'm just two wins away and it will happen this year," he added. "Well, that would be nice, but I'm just concentrating on staying fully fit and fully concentrated."

Gold career

Niggli-Luder is also one of the most successful Swiss athletes in her discipline of orienteering. She won gold at the middle and sprint distances in the world championships this year and has twice won all four disciplines at the competition (2003 and 2005).

The athlete, who was up against ice skater Sarah Meier and snowboarder Manuela Pasko, was previously honoured in 2003 and 2005.

Alinghi, which is headed by Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, came out top in the team event. The sailing team successfully defended its 2003 title to triumph in the world's premier sailing prize in July in Valencia, Spain, defeating Team New Zealand 5-2 in a best-of-nine contest.

However, the 2009 Cup is looking in doubt after a legal battle between Alinghi and United States team BMW Oracle.

Among the other winners were basketball shooting star Thabo Sefolosha, the first Swiss to play in the US NBA with the Chicago Bulls, who was given the Best Newcomer award, and Edith Hunkeler, who won the disabled athlete of the year for the sixth time.

Davos ice hockey team coach Arno Del Curto, won Best Trainer. His team won a record 28th league title this year.

Former cabinet minister Adolf Ogi, who is to leave his position as United Nations special advisor on sport for development and peace at the end of the year, was also honoured for his 35-year contribution to the development of Swiss sport.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The sportsman, sportwoman and team of the year are elected by television viewers during the programme on Saturday night.

The audience had to choose from a shortlist drawn up by Swiss sports bodies and sports journalists.

The newcomer of the year was chosen by the public via the internet or sms before the awards ceremony.

The disabled athlete of the year was chosen by sports journalists, and the manager of the year by the national trainers association.

end of infobox

Key facts

Sportsman of the year: Roger Federer (tennis)
Sportswoman: Simone Niggli-Luder (orienteering)
Team: Alinghi
Newcomer: Thabo Sefolosha (basketball)
Trainer: Arno Del Curto (ice hockey)
Disabled: Edith Hunkeler (athletics)

end of infobox


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