Usain Bolt was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the second year in succession.
While Britain’s Jenson Button was honoured for winning the Formula One world title.
Bolt won the 100 and 200 metres at the World Championships last year, breaking his own world records in both for good measure, and also took gold with his Jamaican team-mates in the 4x100m relay.
The Jamaican superstar is the first man ever to hold the world and Olympic 100 and 200m titles at the same time following his staggering performances in Berlin and Beijing.
Button won the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award after lifting his first F1 drivers’ title in the penultimate race of the season in Brazil, and his Brawn GP team was named Team of the Year.
Button has since moved to join 2008 world champion and fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, and the new season gets under way at the weekend in Bahrain.
Tennis star Serena Williams was named World Sportswoman of the Year at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi, the American having won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2009.
Another tennis player, Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, won the Comeback of the Year award after her remarkable return to the sport, which culminated in her winning the US Open title in just her third tournament following a two-year absence.
South African swimmer Natalie du Toit received the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award, while Australian world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore was named Action Sportsperson of the Year.
Asked whether 2009 had been as good a year as 2008, when he won three Olympic gold medals, Bolt said: “For me it was even better because I had a car accident and bounced back and it shows me that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.
“I have got to the stage where I know what winning is and how to keep winning and I want to keep running, breaking records and winning championships.”
Speaking about his Breakthrough Award, Button joked: “I think someone forgot to tell Laureus that I’m actually 30 years old.
“It’s a very special feeling to be stood here. Before I started last season I didn’t know I would be racing in Formula One so to clinch the title with Brawn in our first season was very emotional for me.
“This is perfect for wrapping up my 2009 season. Tomorrow I start the 2010 season and hopefully I can come back here next year and be close to winning one of these awards again.”