It has been ten years since sailing won an Australian Sport Award, but last night the drought was broken. For the first time in the 25 year history of the event sailing picked up two awards.
Elise and Tessa took the award for Young Australian Team of the Year, and what a team they have been. Not only winning last year's 420 World Championship in Melbourne, but also the 420 Youth World Championship, Australian Championship and Australian Youth Championship. All this at the tender ages of 18 (Tessa) and 19 (Elise) and with only three months experience sailing together prior to winning their first World Championship.
Sailing's second award was won by David TILLETT in the 'Official of the Year' category.
In 2004 TILLETT was the Chairman of the International Jury for Sailing at the Athens Olympic Games, appointed Vice-Chairman of International Jury and Umpire for the 2007 America's Cup, and re-appointed as the Chairman of International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) Racing Rules Committee and as an ISAF Council Member.
In his acceptance speech TILLETT encouraged people to join his line of work, exclaiming: 'why wouldn't you want to be an official…you get the best seat in the house!'
Without doubt TILLETT is a deserving winner of this award. He has continuously used his internationally acknowledged status to influence the growth of sailing in Australia through his practical and theoretical contribution to officiating.
Other finalists nominated by Yachting Australia included IT gurus Paul PASCOE and Gray PRITCHETT (from Bellevue IT), who missed out on the Sport Information Technology Award to the Royal Life Saving Society, and top class navigator and meteorologist Adrienne CAHALAN who missed out on the Confederation of Australian Sport Members' Award - Individual Achievement.
Over 500 guests attended the 25th Australian Sport Awards held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour.