“This is another great honour for me and gives me great encouragement, as we are now in the build-up to the Paralympic Games in Rio.”
Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias won the 2016 Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability on Monday (18 April) during a glittering ceremony in Berlin, Germany. Allianz, a world-wide partner of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), was an official partner of the 2016 Laureus World Sports Awards.
Dias won seven gold medals and a silver during the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain. Those achievements added to the 10 Paralympic gold medals he has collected, making him one of Brazil’s big hopes for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September.
It is the third Laureus Award for Dias, which is also a record, as he won in 2009 and 2013.
“This is another great honour for me and gives me great encouragement, as we are now in the build-up to the Paralympic Games in Rio,” Dias said. “To think I have won three Laureus Awards, something only managed by other sportsmen like Roger Federer, Usain Bolt and Kelly Slater, is quite overwhelming.”
As he is preparing for the Rio 2016 Test Event in swimming (held 22-24 April), Dias was not in Berlin to accept the award. The week after, the S5 swimmer will also be competing in no less than six events during the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships in Funchal, Portugal.
To win the award, Dias beat five other finalists, including French world champion skier Marie Bochet (also a former Laureus winner); Chinese world champion sprinter Liu Cuiqing; the fastest female Paralympian Omara Durand of Cuba; South African dual-sport athlete Pieter Du Preez, who won world titles in both athletics and cycling; and Hong, Kong, China’s Leung Yuk Wing, who won medals in all four World Open boccia competitions.
The 17th Laureus World Sports Awards recognises sporting achievement during the calendar year 2015. It is the premier honours event on the international sporting calendar. This is the first time the Laureus World Sports Awards have been staged in Germany. The winners were voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy.
The other award winners on the night were:
•Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
•Sportswoman of the Year: Serena Williams
•Team of the Year: All Blacks
•Comeback of the Year: Dan Carter
•Breakthrough of the Year: Jordan Spieth
•Action Sportsperson of the Year: Jan Frodeno
•Lifetime Achievement: Niki Lauda
•Sport for Good: Moving the Goalposts
•Spirit of Sport: Johan Cruyff