Sailor Pavlos Kontides, Cyprus’ first ever Olympic medalist, has been declared World Sailor of the Year at the 2018 Rolex World Sailing Awards.
The awards were held last night in Sarasota, Florida. Marie Riou from France and Carolijn Brouwer from the Netherlands were also named female World Sailors of the Year.
World Sailing federation’s website says: “Cyprus’ Pavlos Kontides is etched into the history books in his home nation, becoming the countries first Olympic medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games. His success inspired the nation and since then he has continued to inspire nationally and globally with his achievements.
“The Laser sailor won his first World Championship title at the 2017 edition in Split, Croatia. Less than one year later he stood atop of the podium yet again. At the 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark he conquered again.
“After ten testing races, Kontides faced off against Matt Wearn (AUS) in the Laser Medal Race. Although Kontides finished a place behind the Australian in a tense final duel, he had enough points to give him a two-point victory and a second world title.”
? Male World Sailor of the Year 2018 Winner ?@PavlosKontides ??
— World Sailing ?⛵️ (@worldsailing) October 31, 2018
Speaking on receiving the Award, Kontides said, “There are lot of great legends of our sport on that trophy. Since I was 14, I’ve been dreaming of winning that award. I used to write it on lots of pieces of paper that it’s what I wanted. Maybe it sounded a bit too far away, maybe it was too big of a dream but here I am today.
“I managed to achieve this from a really small island in the middle of the Mediterranean so I hope this achievement will inspire a lot of other young sailors to prove you should dream big and not be too scared to chase it.
“Impossible is something you only have in your brain. Your brain is the biggest barrier but once you figure it out, it can be your biggest weapon and your biggest ally as well so just dream big and go for it.”
Besides the silver Olympic medal in 2012, Limassol-born Kontides won first place in 2017 ILCA World Championship in Split, Croatia, becoming a World Champion.
The World Sailor of the Year Awards were launched in 1994 by the International Sailing Federation to reward individual sailors for outstanding achievements in the sport. They are considered to be the most prestigious awards in international sailing.