Italian wheelchair fencer Beatrice Vio won the 2017 Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award on Tuesday (14 February) in Monaco.
The premier global sports award featured 10 categories, and following the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the competition was particularly fierce.
Vio came into her first Paralympics with high expectations after going on an 11-match winning streak leading up to the Games. At 19 years old, she did not disappoint in her first ever Paralympics. Vio won the gold medal in the women’s individual foil – category B, defeating a tough opponent in China’s Zhou JingJing, whose only loss in Rio was to Vio.
Vio wrote on her Instagram:
“Tremendous and amazing emotions @Laureus Sport Awards in #Montecarlo
Such a great honor to be part of it”
To win the award, Vio had to beat five other Paralympians: swimmers Ihar Boki from Belarus and New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe; Cuban sprinter Omara Durand, Iranian powerlifter Siamand Rahman, and Swiss wheelchair racer Marcel Hug.
The 18th Laureus World Sports Awards recognised sporting achievements during the calendar year 2016. It is the premier honours event on the international sporting calendar. The winners were voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy.
The other winners of the night were:
Sportsman of the year: Usain Bolt
Sportswoman of the year: Simone Biles
Comeback of the year: Michael Phelps
Team of the year: Chicago Cubs
Breakthrough of the year: Nico Rosberg
Action sportsperson of the year: Rachel Atherton
Good award for sporting inspiration: Tegla Loroupe
Spirit of sport award: Leicester City
Best sporting moment of the year: Barcelona Under-12 Team
More information can be found at the Laureus Sports Awards website.