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6 December 2004, 01:35 pm
Sailing Honoured At BBC South Sports Awards
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RYA News

Sailing won a total of five awards at the Annual BBC South Sports Awards on Sunday 5 December including the Young Sportsperson of the Year, Female Team of the Year, Sportswomen of the Year and Manager of the Year.
The first award of the evening, the Rymill Property Developments Female Team of the Year, went to Yngling gold medallists Shirley ROBERTSON, Sarah WEBB and Sarah AYTON in recognition of their fantastic achievements in Athens. Ayton and Webb collected the award and Webb commented that 'it was the perfect round up to an incredible year'.

The De Vere Grand Harbour Young Sportsperson of the Year Award was presented to Nick THOMPSON for his achievements in Poland this summer. Thompson put in a fantastic performance at the 2004 ISAF Youth World Championships to take gold in the Laser class and contribute to the biggest medal haul for Great Britain at a Youth World Championships.

Double Olympic gold medallist Ben AINSLIE was awarded, for the third successive year, the Tenon Yachtsperson of the Year Award. This was presented in recognition of his outstanding achievement at the Athens Olympics where he fought back after being disqualified from the first race of the event, to take the gold medal and win his third Olympic medal. As Ainslie is currently in New Zealand training with an America's Cup team, RYA Chief Executive Rod CARR collected the award on his behalf.

The Badger's Holt Care Home Sportswoman of the Year award went to double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson who managed the incredible feat of winning two successive Olympic gold medals in two different classes.

The RYA's Olympic Manager Stephen PARK was also recognised at the awards and picked up the La Vista Restaurant: Manager of the Year 2004. Park has been involved in coaching at National and International level within the RYA Programmes since 1985 and from there went on to coach the Olympic silver medal winning 49er pairing of Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games before becoming the RYA's Olympic Manager in 2001.

Meticulous planning and attention to fine detail meant that the sailors went to Athens as one of the best prepared teams. Park's hard work paid off and the team once again won five medals, matching the medal haul from Sydney and crowning Great Britain as the most successful Olympic sailing nation for the second Olympics in a row.

A surprised and delighted Park commented on the night, 'I am honoured to be recognised as the BBC South Sports Manager of the Year 2004. I am proud to manage Great Britain's Olympic Sailing team and in particular pay tribute to our committed support staff who work tirelessly to help our sailors win medals. I also must recognise the fact that we have such great sailors in our team that the job of being Manager is made a little easier.'

Commenting on the overall sports performance, he said, 'It is a great tribute to our sport, and to see so many of our sailors win awards is fantastic. It is pleasing to me that BBC viewers and listeners not only recognised the great performance from this summers Olympic Games but also the young talent of the future with Nick Thompson winning an award and we are grateful for the regions support. We will now need to make sure we work hard over the next four years to make sure we are in a similar position for the 2008 Olympic Games.'

The 8 Annual BBC South Sports Awards took place on Sunday 5 December 2004, at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton.

Sacha Oswald
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