McCARTHY competed for four years in preparation to represent Ireland in the 2004 Paralympic Sailing Competition, however he was not finally selected for the team. On arrival in Athens, the Irish team found that their boat had not been cured properly and was not sailable. With two days left to measure their equipment for the Games, the team had to turn to their rivals. McCARTHY jumped in his car, picked up his shore crew and drove from Cork, Ireland to Athens, Greece, reaching the sailing venue just hours before measurement closed.
Winners of the award will be announced in June by the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP).
The goal of CIFP is the world-wide defence and promotion of fair play. The activity of CIFP focuses on national and international organizations working for sport and education, on high level athletes, and very emphatically on children, adolescents and on those in charge of training them - on coaches and trainers.
The CIFP's main objective is to decide about the awarding of International Fair Play prizes every year on the basis of the nominations filed to the CIFP by different organizations and private people.
The prizewinners include famous champions in men and women sport categories as well as lesser-known athletes, beginners and young people. Their conviction is to regard fairness as more important than winning at all costs. They provide an ideal for millions of athletes all over the world. The CIFP also awards prizes to outstanding athletes who have always excelled by their fairness and are now retiring from active sports. In this way the CIFP would like to encourage former athletes to remain model examples of fair play in sports.
With this aim in view every year the CIFP confers awards in three categories:
1. For an act of fair play, which cost or could have cost the victory to a contender who sacrificed or compromised his chances of winning by complying not only with the written rules of the sport, but also with the 'unwritten' ones.
2. A general attitude of sportsmanship all along a sports career, marked by an outstanding and constant spirit of fair play.
3. An activity aimed at promoting fair play: organization of national or local campaigns, lectures, books, articles, reports or comments in the media.
The awards are conferred by the Board of Directors, which comprises the jury of the International Committee for Fair Play.