Swiss wheelchair racer Catherine Debrunner wins 2023 Laureus Award

Debrunner wins her first Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award for her successful 2022 season 09 May 2023 By IPC

Wheelchair racer Catherine Debrunner won the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award for a successful year that saw her dominate on both the road and the track.

She received the award at a glittering ceremony in Paris on Monday, 8 May. The Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award celebrates the remarkable achievements by a Para athlete in 2022.

"I must say I'm completely speechless to be here," Debrunner said. "To be here with the best athletes from all over the world - Olympic athletes and Paralympic athletes - is for me, a really huge honour.

"When I got the invitation to come here, I was completely overwhelmed. But to win this amazing award is a huge childhood dream come true."

Debrunner thanked her family and her coaches for helping her follow her dreams. @Kristy Sparow/Getty Images for Laureus

In 2022, Debrunner won several major races in her debut marathon season and set a number of world records on the track. She won her first-ever marathon, the Berlin Marathon in September 2022, and followed that up with a victory at the London Marathon 2022 seven days later.

A track specialist, the Swiss athlete also delighted home fans by setting four world records at the Nottwil 2022 World Para Athletics Grand Prix in May.

"I want to say thank you to everyone who voted for me (for the award), and I want to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to my family. They supported me from the very beginning and made this dream possible," the 28-year-old athlete said.

Debrunner won the London Marathon in October 2022, just seven days after winning the Berlin Marathon. @Paul Harding/Getty Images

Debrunner made her Paralympic debut at Rio 2016 and claimed two medals at Tokyo 2020, including a gold in the women's 400m T53.

"I want to say thank you to my supporters and sponsors, who helped me make this journey and follow my dreams," the Paralympian said.

"I want to say thank you to all my coaches, who worked every day, so hard for me."

The prestigious award was presented to a Swiss wheelchair racer for the second straight year. Last year, Marcel Hug won the award after achieving a golden sweep in his four events at Tokyo 2020.

This year, the other finalists of the award were New Zealand's Para swimmer and wheelchair rugby player Cameron Leslie, US Para ice hockey player Declan Farmer, Dutch wheelchair tennis player Diede De Groot, Norway's Para alpine skier Jesper Pedersen and US Para Nordic skier and Para cyclist Oksana Masters