News

07
Ben Ainslie (UK) and Lijia Xu (China) were named the male and female winners of the 2012 ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards at a ceremony held at the Mansion House in Dublin last night (6th November). The revered Awards, a celebration of true sailing talent and success, are the highest accolade any sailor can receive in recognition of his or her outstanding achievements by the world of sailing. The ceremony was attended by many of the world's top sailors and delegates of the ISAF Annual Conference, which is currently being hosted by the Irish Sailing Association in nearby Dun Laoghaire. 

Competition for the 2012 Awards was formidable, with four outstanding female and five equally exceptional male candidates short-listed from a list of nominations made by the public at large. The winners were decided by the votes of the over 130 Member National Authorities of ISAF. Suspense was maintained until the very last minute, with the nominees and guests unaware who had won until the official announcement itself.

Four-time Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie, is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. With four Olympic gold medals and now as many ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, the 35-year old’s achievement at London 2012 elevated him to five Olympic medals (four gold, one silver), surpassing Rolex Testimonee Paul Elvstrøm (Denmark), winner of four gold medals between 1948 and 1960. On receiving the award, Ainslie paid tribute to the team that has supported him, “Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a huge honour, especially for everyone who has helped me. There is a huge team in the background from family, friends, coaches and sponsors who helped make it happen. It is an honour to be part of such a group of exceptional sailors who were put forward for this award.” commented “Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a huge honour, especially for everyone who has helped me. There is a huge team in the background from family, friends, coaches and sponsors who helped make it happen. It is a huge honour to be part of such a group of exceptional sailors who were put forward for this award.”

The inspirational Lijia Xu etched her name in the history books in August 2012 becoming the first Chinese, and indeed Asian, sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal in a dinghy sailing boat. “I didn’t expect to be the winner,” admitted Xu. “It is an honour to be named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and become the first sailor from China to receive this award. I hope this award can inspire more children in China to take up the sport.”

Xu triumphed in the Laser Radial, one of the tightest and most dramatic competitions at London 2012 where Irish sailor Annalise Murphy narrowly missed out on a medal. This after the Shanghai-born sailor hardly made an auspicious start to competition, finishing in the top three positions in only one of the first six races. During the second half of the week, Xu’s class came to the fore. In a manner reminiscent of her fellow 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, she showed grit and determination to put herself in pole position for the deciding medal race.

*** *** ***
The revered ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards will take place this evening at the historic Mansion House in the heart of Dublin city (Tuesday 6th November). The Awards, a celebration of true sailing talent and success, are the highest accolade any sailor can receive in recognition of his or her outstanding achievements by the world of sailing. The ceremony will be attended by many of the world's top sailors and delegates of the ISAF Annual Conference, which is currently being hosted by the Irish Sailing Association in nearby Dun Laoghaire. 

The winners are selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world, who have been invited to vote for one male and one female nominee they believe most deserves the Award for their efforts during the nomination period. This year there are five male and four female nominees who have been shortlisted for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards based on their achievements during the qualifying period of 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2012. HM King Constantine, ISAF President of Honour, will announce the winners each of whom will be presented with the prestigious ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year trophy and a distinctive Rolex timepiece.

The 2012 nominees are:

Male
Ben Ainslie (GBR) - Finn - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist & 2012 World Champion
Mathew Belcher & Malcolm Page (AUS) - Men's 470 - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists, 2011 and 2012 World Champions & 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champions
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) - 49er - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists & 2011 and 2012 World Champions
Loick Peyron (FRA) - Outright Around the World Record
Tom Slingsby (AUS) - Laser - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist & 2011 and 2012 World Champion

Female
Támara Echegoyen, Ángela Pumariega and Sofia Toro (ESP) - Women's Match Racing - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists
Helena Lucas (GBR) - 2.4mR - London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medallist & 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion
Saskia Sills (GBR) - RS:X - ISAF Youth Sailing World Champion & European Youth Champion
Lijia Xu (CHN) - Laser Radial - London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist

Video interviews with each of the nominees are available to view on the ISAF YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/isafchannel

The announcement of the winners will be made roughly between 20.30 and 21.00 this evening. Live commentary will be available on the ISAF blog www.sailing.org/follow/2012-ISAF-conference-blog.php





Posted in: General
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |

Post Rating

Privacy Statement | Terms Of Use | Developed by Margin.ie | Copyright 2009 by Irish Sailing Association