Liverpool FC's Luis Suárez has won the Latin Sports Personality of the Year, the Latin-UK Awards (LUKAS) announces today, after two months public voting and the verdicts of expert judges. The 27-year old striker from Uruguay, who developed his skills on the streets of Montevideo, is currently the Premier League's top scorer. Last month saw his 100th Premier League performance and his sixth hat-trick. He also broke the club record of 28 goals in a season to help take Liverpool to the top of the league. Suárez also plays for Uruguay's national team, scoring three goals in the 2010 World Cup and becoming the country's all-time record goal scorer last year. With his ability to pass balls through the legs of his opponents it has been said Suárez could 'nutmeg a mermaid'.
The LUKAS is the annual awards ceremony recognising the contributions of one million Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese residents to British life. Now in its third year, it is the fastest-growing awards ceremony in the UK and most media-covered Latin event.
Tens of thousands of Latino residents and other Latin culture fans vote in seven award categories marking contributions to music, sport, dance, food, the arts, business and community. 1200 individuals and organisations were nominated this year for one of 56 LUKAS awards.
Osvaldo Ardiles, fellow Latino who pioneered Latin American football in the UK when he transferred from Argentina to Spurs in 1978 said: "Suarez for me is THE player of the season and my favourite Latin American player in the UK." Osvaldo Ardiles will pick up a Lifetime Achievement Award for his controbution to British Sport at the LUKAS Gala ceremony on 30th April at KOKO. The Argentine Spurs legend affectionately known as Ossie played with the Argentinian 1978 World Cup winning team and was one of the first foreign footballers in the UK. He became a hero for the North London club, helping it achieve FA CUP victory. Ossie said: "I was delighted when I was told I would receive this prestigious award. I feel excited about attending this much-talked-about event."
LUKAS director Amaranta Wright says: "The LUKAS are about celebrating the distinctive flavour that Latinos bring to British culture and nowhere is this more evident than in Premier League Football."
The Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana was elected International Sports Personality of the Year, beating Spain's most successful tennis player Rafael Nadal. Finishing second overall in the General Classification of the 2013 Tour de France was the best result ever for a Colombian or Latin-American rider in the competition.
Voters also chose Cristiano Ronaldo as their favourite Latino International Footballer of the Year. Ronaldo plays forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and captains the Portugal national team.
The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony held at the KOKO on Wednesday 30 April. It will be hosted by Cuban Fury star Yanet Fuentes and Boris Izaguirre, one of the Spanish world's biggest TV show hosts.
Winners of the Music and dance categories will perform, including Flamenco guitarist, Paco Peña, and international winners, such as Puerto Rican Salsa superstar Yan Collazo, who won Concert by International Artist of the Year, and will be flying in to perform. Nicaraguan born Bianca Jagger will also be receiving an award.
The event is organised by Latinolife, the UK's leading Latino lifestyle magazine. Visit www.thelukas.co.uk.
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Notes to editors
Brazilian Sandro Rainieri (Tottenham Hotspur) is runner up for Latin Sports Personality of the Year while Argentina's Lionel Messi (Barcelona) was runner up for International Footballer of the Year.
The winners and runners-up were decided with the public vote counting for 50% and the remaining 50% by votes from a panel of experts.
Last year's LUKAS awards were presented by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, fashion queen Vivienne Westwood and ballet star Tamara Rojo.
The LUKAS were founded by journalist, writer and social entrepreneur Amaranta Wright and Latin DJ, producer and promoter Jose Luis Seijas.
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