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Home » Dinghy » Mat Belcher and Will Ryan finalists for ISAF Rolex World Male Sailor Award

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan finalists for ISAF Rolex World Male Sailor Award


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ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2014. Australia's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan are finalists in the Mat Belcher and Will Ryan are finalists in the Male Sailor Award. Credit: Victor Kovalenko.

Olympic gold medallist and five-time World Champion Mat Belcher (QLD) and dual World Champion crew Will Ryan (QLD) have been announced as Nominees for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2014.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex announced the nomination on Wednesday, 1 October European time.  Current World Male Sailor of the Year 2013 Mat Belcher and his crew Will Ryan are one of five nominees in the Male Sailor of the Year category, which also includes Australian and America’s Cup Team Oracle Skipper James Spithill.

The nomination reflects the many accomplishments of the two Queenslanders, who have dominated the Men’s 470er class since teaming up after the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Belcher and Ryan finished on the podium at every major regatta they have competed at.  Whilst their unbeaten run was ended in January 2014, their hunger for victory was intensified as they left their rivals in their wake at the Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds in September and the Open European Championship in July.

Their victory at the 2014 Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships a couple of weeks ago (see media release, September 20: here) was their second consecutive world title together and brings Belcher’s tally to a record-breaking five in a row.  With this result the pair also secured Australia a spot in the Men’s 470 class at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“It’s an honour for Will and I to be nominated amongst the best sailors in the world”, said Belcher about the announcement.  “It is a great recognition for the efforts we’ve put in and the results we’ve achieved.  We are very fortunate to have great support from our coach Victor Kovalenko, the Australian Sailing Team and all our sponsors and partners.”

After nominations in 2010 and 2012 and winning the award in 2013, this year is the fourth time Belcher has received a nomination for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

“It has been a privilege to be nominated four times in five years.  It’s been a great run for me first with Malcolm Page and now with Will Ryan and to be able to do it with two different crews has been really rewarding.  I guess it says a little bit about our personalities, we had that winning streak over two years and we just keep the focus on what we need to be doing.  We’re just really enjoying what we are doing and enjoy racing our competitors.  It also shows that our preparations and planning to constantly perform are on the right track”, he added.

“We really stepped it up another level as a team this year.  Winning the world champs last year and to back that up with the win this year was a big step in our relationship.  To go through the past two years in a new combination with the results we’ve had and to be recognised at an international level is fantastic.”

The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is the highest sporting award in the world of sailing.  The nominees for the Roles World Sailor of the Year Award are put forward based on achievements made during the qualifying period from 1 September 2013 to 21 September 2014.

ISAF received nominations for the 2014 Awards from across the world for sailors representing all aspects of the sport.

The names vying for the coveted and prestigious 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award in the Male category are –

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS)
James Spithill (AUS)
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL)
Bill Hardesty (USA)
Giles Scott (GBR)

For more information on the other categories and nominees see ISAF media release here.

The Voting

The winners are selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world.  The MNAs are now invited to vote for the male and female nominee they believe most deserves the Award.

The winners will be announced at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards presentation and dinner, taking place on Tuesday 4 November 2014. The venue for the event will be at the Pueblo Español, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

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

Full profiling of each nominee and their achievements will be available on the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards microsite here starting 6 October.

Profile Mat Belcher, here.  Profile Will Ryan, here.

For more information see here.

By Cora Zillich, Australian Sailing Team


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