NAOMI OSAKA NAMED 2021 LAUREUS SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
Naomi Osaka was named winner of the Laureus' 2021 Sportswoman of the Year Award for her success in tennis and off-court social activism, becoming the first Japanese to win one of the annual ceremony's top honors, reported Kyodo News.
The awards have been given annually since 2000 when golfer Tiger Woods and American sprinter Marion Jones won the top men's and women's honors.
"I've watched so many of my role models win this award, so it definitely means a lot now to be holding it," Osaka said in an acceptance speech broadcast at the event held digitally. "I am so happy to receive it. It really means a lot to me."
In this past year, the 23-year-old Osaka won both the U.S. and Australian opens for the second time, while using her platform to speak out for the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality in the United States.
"I think it is important to use my voice, because, for me, I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it," Osaka said.
"Looking ahead, my main hopes for the future would be just to have helped or impacted as many people as I could and, hopefully, be a better person."
In 2019, Osaka won the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award, becoming the first Japanese to win any of the organization's honors.
She was also nominated for the 2020's sportswoman award.