Julie makes history, wins Sportsmen of the Year 7 times; Laird clinches first title
Allan Julie makes history, winning Best Sportsman title for the seventh time (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Waters sports came out with the top honours in the Seychelles Best Sportsmen award, with sailor Allain Julie and swimmer Alexus Laird winning the trophies of best sportsman and best sports lady on Friday.
Julie made history as the most decorated sportsmen in the history of the award, winning for the seventh time.
“To win this title seven times was not a 100-meter dash but it was a marathon. It shows that I have persevered until today. Even at this age, I have advanced a little bit more in my career than before to be able to win this title,” Julie told reporters.
|Allan Julie - Seychelles most decorated sportsman (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
Julie succeeds fellow sailor Rodney Govinden, who won the award in 2015, and this time came out fourth.
For Laird, this is the first time she wins the Best Sports Lady title. Laird, who is in training with her new South African Seagulls club, was not present in the award ceremony. Her great uncle, Pierre Grandcourt, received the award on her behalf
Speaking to SNA via Facebook, Laird said, “I cannot put into words how excited I am for winning the sports woman of the year, it is such a huge accomplishment for me, considering I was amongst so many deserving ladies.”
Laird added that “I know each one of us has put countless hours of work into our respective sports and being chosen is such an honour.”
The swimmer took over from high jumper Lissa Labiche, who was the runner-up for the title.
|Alexus Laird -- Seychelles Best Sports Lady of the Year, was not present to receive her prize (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
“With my results in Rio and at the African Games, I knew I would be in the running for winning the title but I was not sure if Lissa would win as I know she had an amazing year as well,” said Laird.
The Best Sportsman and Best Sports Lady award ceremony is an annual event recognizing athletes who have excelled in their sports discipline in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
This year it took place Friday evening at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Hotel in the north of the main island, Mahe, in front of a crowd of around 700 guests coming to witness one of the most prestigious events of the year.
|Best Sportsman and Best Sports Lady award ceremony is an annual event recognizing athletes who have excelled in their sports discipline (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
Young tennis player Damien Laporte won the Young Male Athlete of the Year award, while swimmer Felicite Passon retained her title as the Young Female Athlete of the Year.
For the two athletes, Julie and Laird, winning the award is a culmination of their outstanding performances last year.
Julie described 2016 as a very challenging year since he had chosen to compete in the Finn dinghy category for the Rio Games, a completely new category for him. He came out 23rd overall.
“I had to sacrifice myself and eat a lot in order to increase my weight to 100 kilos to be able to participate in Finn. Rio was a bit difficult since I had only three months in that category and with my physique, I could not do any better than that,” said Julie.
The sailor made up for Rio by winning a gold medal for Seychelles in the laser standard category at the African championship in Maputo, Mozambique.
In swimming, Laird single-handedly brought Seychelles to fourth place overall last year, in the medal standings at the African Championship in Bloemfontein, South Africa with four medals, which included gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke.