Vincent Lauwers (AUS), who, in 2000 was nominated for the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Awards in recognition of his successful solo, nonstop unassisted circumnavigation a world first, won the disability category at the '2001 Laureus World Sports Award'
The Laureus World Sports Awards, styled as the Oscars of the sporting world, celebrate sporting excellence across all disciplines and continents.
Vinny won the Award in recognition of making history by becoming the first disabled person to sail solo, non-stop unassisted around the world. Vinny, who is 32 years, became paraplegic in 1990 and was determined to let nothing stand in his way. His dream voyage took seven years to prepare for, planning and building his boat, using all his time and resources to achieve his goal.
The voyage was completed on 12 August 2000 after seven and a half months, when he arrived into Port Phillip Bay on the south-eastern coast of Australia. The ravages of the ocean had taken their toll on the boat, with its rigging damaged and an emergency steering system being used. His voyage helped to raise A$40,000 for both disadvantaged children and children with a disability.
The ceremony for the Laureus World Sports Awards was shown in more than 150 countries and featured many well-known personalities from the fields of sport and entertainment.
Said Lauwers after the ceremony: "Over the seven and a half months I spent sailing around the world, I never once in my wildest dreams thought that my vision would come to fruition with such a great award. It's a great honor and I shall really treasure it as one of my greatest achievements."
The other nominees for the disability category were: track athlete Shea Cowart (United States), tennis player David Hall (Australia), swimmer Béatrice Hess (France) and equestrian athlete Lee Pearson (Britain).
At last year's inaugural Laureus Awards founded by DaimlerChrysler and Richemont, Australian wheelchair athlete Louise Sauvage was named Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.