by Craig Heydon
London 2012 Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby has been named Male Athlete of the Year at the 2012 New South Wales Institute Sports Awards in Sydney on Thursday night. Slingsby’s latest award capped a memorable year for Australian sailing, which made waves on and off the water.
Following a year where NSWIS sailors won four gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and won World Championships in three classes the sport was recognised with four awards.
London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist Tom Slingsby was named Male Athlete of the Year, coming out on top in a strong field which included team mates and fellow gold medallists Malcolm Page, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen.
As well as winning gold at London 2012, Slingsby won the 2011 and 2012 Laser World Championships and is ranked number one in the world.
Sailing was named as Program of the Year, jointly winning the award with Athletes with a Disability. Of Australia’s 10 Olympic and Paralympic sailing medallists eight are from New South Wales and have been involved with the NSWIS program over the years.
London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medallist Liesl Tesch received two awards, continuing a successful few weeks of the water with wins at the Australian Yachting Awards and Paralympian of the Year Awards.
Tesch, who claimed gold in the Skud 18 alongside Daniel Fitzgibbon, won the Career Development and Outstanding Achievement awards. In a busy night for Tesch she was also a finalist in the Female Athlete of the Year category.
Yachting Australia High Performance Director Peter Conde said that the awards were a great recognition for a successful year for the sport.
'The last year has been a very successful one for sailing, culminating with four gold medals and a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games,' said Conde. 'These medals were the result of years of hard work for the athletes and their coaches on an international, national and state level.
'Programs such as the one we have with NSWIS is vital in developing our future World and Olympic Champions,' he said. 'We need to continue the flow of talented athletes so that Australian can continue to compete with the best in the world.'
As well as winning the four awards, sailors were also finalists in a further three categories.
Tom Slingsby, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen were all finalists for the Regional Athlete of the Year, Liesl Tesch, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen were in the running for the Team Athlete of the Year and Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty were up for Female Athlete of the Year.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit the Australian Sailing Team website.