Colin Harrison and Russell Boaden’s Rio Paralympic heroics were recognised at the 2017 Western Australian Sailing Awards, with the pair taking top honours.
The duo formed part of Australia’s gold medal winning three-man sonar crew in Rio and were jointly awarded the Male Sailor of the Year, Sailor of the Year with a Disability and the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation Gold Medal for service to the sport.
Rio Olympian Carrie Smith earned Female Sailor of the Year honours whilst Zac Littlewood (Junior Sailor of the Year) and Zoe Thomson (Youth Sailor of the Year) were recognised for their efforts over the voting period.
Harrison and Boaden, along with New South Welshman Jonathon Harris made a memorable farewell to Paralympic sport, by winning the final gold medal in the sonar class, with sailing exiting the Paralympic sports roster for Tokyo 2020.
Harrison – who skippered the victorious crew in Brazil – accepted the award and paid tribute to coach Grant Alderson – who won the Coach of the Year gong.
"It is an honour to be recognised by the sailing community in Western Australia with these very prestigious awards,” Harrison said. "There are a lot of people who have contributed to our journey including our coach, Grant Alderson. His efforts with our team to get us where we are, have been remarkable.”
"We have also had great assistance from Yachting Western Australia, the Ron Tough Foundation, our Clubs, local Coaches and match racing teams, in particular Redline Racing Team who have been training with us and pushing us hard, helping improve our skills to ultimately win that Gold Medal in Rio.”
In other sailing news:
Carrie Smith narrowly missed out on racing in the medal round at the 470 European Championships in Monaco.
Smith was competing with Amelia Catt – who is crewing for Smith’s regular partner Jaime Ryan as she recovers from post-Olympic surgery.
The duo finished in 11th place, just three points off 10th place and an appearance in the medal round. With three top ten results over the course of the campaign, there will be much encouragement to build upon as the international season continues.
WA young guns, Nia Jerwood and Monique De Vries gained valuable experience racing against an Olympic quality fleet and registered a 30th position finish, which was highlighted by a highly impressive third rank finish in the penultimate fleet race.