Olympic Gold medallist and World Champion Mathew Belcher has been awarded the 2014 Courier-Mail/Channel 7 Queensland Sport Star of the Year at the Queensland Sport Awards in Brisbane last night. It is the first time a sailor has received this prestigious award in its 20-year history.
The 32-year-old skipper from the Gold Coast, who was named World Sailor of the Year in November last year, has been dominating the Men’s 470 class for a while. In 2014 Belcher and Ryan finished on the podium at every international regatta they competed in, culminating in being crowned World Champions in the 470 at the 2014 ISAF World Championships in Santander, Spain in September. It was their second consecutive world title together and brought Belcher's tally to a record-breaking five in a row.
On top of this, the pair, who are coached by “medal-maker” Victor Kovalenko, were crowned 2014 European and Australian Champions. They also won gold at the first Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro in August – a great step in their pursuit for gold at the 2016 Olympics.
Both Belcher and Ryan were recently nominated as finalists for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2014 and received the Yachting Australia Male Sailors of the Year 2014 award. Both of these awards reflect their unchallenged position as highly respected individuals in the international sailing world and their exemplary sportsmanship.
Belcher and his fellow Queenslander crew Will Ryan closed off a successful 2014 season with a win at the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal in the 470 class at the final event in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, 30 November.
Belcher’s commitments in Abu Dhabi prevented him from returning to Queensland in time to receive the award. His brother and Yachting Australia board member Daniel Belcher accepted the Courier-Mail/Channel 7 Queensland Sports Star of the Year award at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Mat’s behalf.
On Friday, Belcher and Ryan will fly to Rio de Janeiro for a fourth visit to train in the Olympic waters and conditions of 2016.
Mat Belcher Profile: http://www.australiansailing.org/team-members/mathew-belcher/