"It's so difficult to describe my feelings in this moment," said Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) upon being named the female ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. "It's an honour to stand on the same stage as the best sailors in the world and receive this recognition. I remember seeing the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and dreaming of being on the podium with my country's flag. I've now completed five Olympics, that's 20 years of adapting to new technologies and changes and to be here now, tonight, is so important and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart."
Ben AINSLIE (GBR) made history once again this evening as the first person ever to have won the Award three times in his career. "Like Alessandra I would like to give a big thank you from my heart to everyone who made this happen," Ainslie said, gesturing to his parents and his sister who joined him at the Award ceremony. When asked what his plans are for the future Ainslie's ambitions were clear: "The next goal for Britain is to try for the America's Cup- we have a great British team. There are a lot of America's Cup heroes in this room and we hope to see you on the water in the near future," he added with a smile.
Full report to follow later today...
The nominees for the 2008 Awards were:
Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB & Pippa WILSON (GBR)
Claire LEROY (FRA)
Elise RECHICHI & Tessa PARKINSON (AUS)
Alessandra SENSINI (ITA)
Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA)
Ben AINSLIE (GBR)
Tom ASHLEY (NZL)
Francis JOYON (FRA)
Vincenzo ONORATO (ITA)
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR)
Find out more about the Awards, the 2008 nominees, past winners and more at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards microsite - www.sailing.org/worldsailor.