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28 Sep 2010

Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) Aim for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year A More ...

A phenomenal year for the Australian team of Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) has been recognized with their nomination for the 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced today. Their triumphs in 2010 include winning the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup, the 2010 470 World Championship, several individual World Cup and Grade 1, 2 and 3 events and climbing from #43 to #1 in the ISAF World Rankings during the nomination period.

"The names of sailing legends are on the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy, and Mat and Malcolm deserve to be added to this accolade of the world's best. Not only has their performance been outstanding during the period of nomination (1 September 2009 – 31 August 2010), they have delivered consistently at a world-class level for many years. I wish them every success and every vote in securing the coveted ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy," said Stanislav Kassarov, 470 Class President.

Both Belcher and Page will attend the ceremony on 9 November 2010 in Athens, Greece.

Team Belcher Page Achievements
They have competed in twelve international 470 events during the period of nomination, and opened their 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup season opened with Sail Melbourne, where against many of the world's best 470 teams, they won every single race to seal gold perfectly.

Mat , Victor and Malcolm with 2010 470 World Championship Trophies © Thom Touw

Next stop Rolex Miami OCR where they finished second, before it was on to Europe and the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE 2010 for a fourth place, which saw Malcolm racing on his honeymoon. Semaine Olympique Francais gave Mat a sixth place finish with substitute crew Will Ryan, whilst Malcolm raced the Farr40. It was then back to the Mat and Malcolm partnership for a silver medal at Delta Lloyd Regatta, then to Kieler Woche and a gold medal podium place. Their performance at Kieler Woche was exceptional, winning four of the five races and securing the ISAF Sailing World Cup title with an event to spare.

 

It was then over to the Netherlands for the 470 World Championships, where Belcher and Page opened their claim on the Championship title by winning all three races on the first day of racing. They secured two more bullets in the 12-race series and won by a 21-point margin for another pair of gold medals. A priceless performance.

Back to the final event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta and the challenging conditions of the 2012 Olympic venue, where they delivered another silver medal for their event finish, and were presented with the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup Trophy.

Action in Australia © Victor Kovalenko

A few days later, their outstanding year was further rewarded when they became the number 1 ISAF ranked 470 team in the world, up from 43rd within one year.

Between these events, there were other 470 events contested including the ISAF Graded Sail Sydney – Gold, ISAF Graded 470 Australian National Championships – Gold, ISAF Graded International 470 Spring Cup – Gold.

Page was Australia's 2009 Yachtsman of the Year and is respected throughout the international sailing community and is a member of the ISAF Athletes' Commission. Mat Belcher, a longtime Australian Sailing Team member and already a world class and ISAF #1 ranked 470 helmsman, started racing with Page in August 2009.

Malcolm Page has won four 470 World Championships, an ISAF World Championship, an Olympic gold medal, and national sailor of the year awards before, but this is the first time that the most decorated sailor in 470 Class history has been nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.

"Our focus throughout the year was on improving our performance and winning this year's 470 World Championship," said Page. "We never thought about the World Sailor of the Year award until we looked back on the year after having won the World Championship."

Mat and Malcolm at Sail 2009 Melbourne Sailing Downunder © Victor Kovalenko

"Both of us were astonished about how well we got on together from the outset," said Belcher. "We owe a lot to Victor (Kovalenko). He has been working with both of us for over a decade now and he laid out a plan to peak for the 2012 Olympics and the 2010 470 Worlds."

"Watching Mat and Malcolm perform is like watching virtuosos perform," said Victor Kovalenko, Australian Sailing Team Head Coach and 470 Coach. "They are truly talented sailors and have had an outstanding year."  Kovalenko's protégés include 1997 ISAF World Sailors of the Year Ruslana Taran and Elena Pakholichik (UKR).

Other 470 sailors to win the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE) who scooped the Award in 2002 and 2004.

During the 2009-2010 ISAF calendar, both Belcher and Page married their longtime partners and celebrated their honeymoons. Page also won the World Master Games with Martin Hill in the 45+ Division, managed a very competitive Farr 40 campaign and competed on the Farr 40 circuit.

The Voting
The winners will be selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities, the national governing bodies for sailing around the world, who are now invited to vote for the one male and one female sailor who they believe most deserves the Award.

The winners will be announced at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards presentation and dinner, which will take place on Tuesday 9 November 2010. The venue for the event is the Zappeion in Athens, Greece.

Each winner will be presented with the prestigious ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy and a distinctive Rolex timepiece.

Other 470 Nominees
Joining Mat and Malcolm as nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are 470 sailors Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) who are shortlisted for the women's Award.

More Information:
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards website
Belcher/Page Team website

Main Image: Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) with the ISAF Sailing World Cup Trophy © Thom Touw