BELCHER/RYAN WIN AUSTRALIAN SAILOR OF YEAR AWARD17 Oct 2014
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan headline 2014 Yachting Australia Awards and have added to their rapidly growing number of accolades, taking out the Male Sailor of the Year award at the 2014 Yachting Australia Awards in Sydney tonight, Friday 17 October.
The formidable duo is going from strength to strength in the 470 class, dominating the podium both domestically and internationally over the past 12 months. They were recently crowned World Champions, qualifying a quota place for Australia for the 2016 Olympics in the process. This year they also took out the European and Australian Championships, won gold at the Rio Olympic Test Event and finished the year with two golds, a silver and a bronze at the four ISAF World Cup events.
“I’m so lucky. It’s been an amazing experience for me to sail with someone so dedicated, so motivated, so hungry to win and so humble. We have two years to go, we got a lot of work to do and we are in good position. The Australian Sailing Team is our family and we are really proud of being part of it and winning this award tonight.” Belcher said of sailing with Ryan.
They were the 2013 Australian Institute of Sport Team of the Year, and Belcher was crowned 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. The pair was also recently nominated as finalists for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2014, to be decided in November. As they build towards Rio 2016, Belcher and Ryan are a powerful force as they look to defend Australia’s 470 gold medal from the last two consecutive Olympics.
“It’s a fantastic honour,” Ryan added. “The real message I have taken out of tonight though is how much we all love sailing. And I think that passion we have for our sport is showing in how good our results are across the board.”
With the Rio Olympics less that two years away, Australia’s Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller was thrilled with the award.
“It would be hard to find two better role models for sport,” she tweeted.