Olympic and Paralympic sailors rewarded for summer success at Weymouth and Portland
Olympic and Paralympic sailing stars have been celebrated at the Skandia Team GB Annual Prize Giving.
Quadruple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie and Paralympic SKUD stars Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell took top honours at the event last week.
Rickham and Birrell were awarded the RYA Paralympic Classes Athlete of the Year trophy and the overall Skandia Athlete of the Year, after their Paralympic bronze medal-winning performance at Weymouth and Portland over the summer.
The duo also picked up a fourth consecutive World Championship title this year, along with one gold and two silver medals on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit.
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Stephen Park, RYA Olympic Manager said: "This year's Skandia Team GB annual awards dinner was a little bigger than usual, as we're celebrating not only our achievements in 2012 but also across this Olympic cycle and so many people have played a part in those successes.
"2012 was a fantastic year for British sport which will live long in the memory, so it's important for us as a team to take the time to celebrate together, to look back on what was achieved while also hopefully inspiring and motivating some of our younger sailors towards Rio and beyond, and to them achieving their dreams as well."
Ainslie claimed the British Olympic Association's Athlete of the Year Trophy for Sailing for the third time - and the second consecutive year.
As well as winning a fourth Olympic gold medal in Dorset this summer, Ainslie also won the Finn Gold Cup for a record sixth time, as well as a gold and a silver on the World Cup circuit.
"The award evening's a great way to bring the whole team together" added Ainslie.
"I think what people don't see is all the hard work that goes on in the background making it happen - all the support staff, coaches and administrative staff."
A host of other awards were handed out including to Olympic Laser Radial sailor Alison Young, who was voted as the most 'Gold Driven' of the team, while 470 European Champion Sophie Ainsworth was rewarded for her progress in the Development Squad.