The awards were based on the performances of athletes in the major competitions of 2013
Held at Museum of Modern Art on the eve of 1,000 days to go until the 2016 Paralympic Games in the city, the awards recognised the best male and female athletes of the year as well as the top athletes in each of the 22 Paralympic summer sports, the best coaches in individual and group sports, and the best new athlete.
Amongst the guests at the star-studded ceremony were International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven; Brazil’s Minister of Sports, Aldo Rebelo; the national secretary for High Performance Sports, Ricardo Leyser and two-time Formula 1 driver Emerson Fittipaldi.
It was the second time that multi-Paralympic and world champion Dias has been voted athlete of the year, after the public also voted for him in 2011. The swimmer’s six gold and two silver medals at August’s IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada, tipped the public vote in his favour and saw him finish ahead of runners Alan Fonteles Cardoso de Oliveira and Odair Santos - both champions at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championship in Lyon, France.
Earlier this year, Dias also became Brazil’s first ever two-time recipient of the Laureus Award for his performances at London 2012, an event that saw him become Brazil’s all-time top Paralympic medal winner.
For Susana Schnarndorf Ribeiro, the award was a new experience. Originally from the south of Brazil, the athlete now lives in Rio de Janeiro and was nominated for the award with two other 2013 world champions: 17-year old sprinter Verônica Hipólito - the winner of the 2013 best new athlete award - and sprinter Terezinha Guilhermina, voted best athlete in 2011 and 2012.
The award crowned Scharndorf Ribeiro’s fabulous season which saw her win the world title in the 100m breaststroke SB6 and bronze in the 400m freestyle S6. Schnarndorf also won national competitions in the Caixa Loterias Circuit and broke several Brazilian records in the S6 category.
The awards were based on the performances of athletes in the major competitions of 2013, recipients were nominated by coaches and managers of the various sports associations and voted for by the public between 30 November and 9 December via the Brazilian Paralympic Committee website.
The other award winners were:
Best individual sports coach: Amaury Wagner Veríssimo
Best coach of team sports: Fernando Guimarães (sitting volleyball)
Best athletes by sport:
Athletics: Alan Fonteles Cardoso de Oliveira
Wheelchair basketball: Lia Maria Soares Martins
Boccia: Maciel Sousa Santos
Paracanoe: Fernando Fernandes de Padua
Para-cycling: Soelito Gohr
Wheelchair fencing: Jovane Silva Guissone
Football 5-a-side: Jeferson da Conceição Gonçalves (Jefinho)
Football 7-a-side: Wanderson Silva de Oliveira
Goalball: Romário Diego Marques
Powerlifting: Evânio Rodrigues da Silva
Equestrian: Vera Lúcia Martins Mazzilli
Judo: Lúcia da Silva Teixeira
Swimming: Daniel Dias
Rowing: Claudia Cicero Santos Sabino
Wheelchair rugby: Alexandre Vitor Giuriato
Table tennis: Bruna Costa Alexandre
Wheelchair tennis: Carlos Alberto Chaves dos Santos (Jordan)
Archery: Andrey Muniz de Castro
Shooting: Geraldo Von Rosenthal
Triathlon: Marcelo Collet and Mauro Silva
Sailing: Antonio Marcos do Carmo
Sitting volleyball: Anderson Ribas da Silva