MILAN, ITALY: The winners of the four 2002 FISA (international rowing federation) awards were announced this weekend in Milan, Italy at the World Rowing Forum.
Canadian men's coach Mike Spracklen was awarded the FISA Coach of the Year Award for 2002. Spracklen, who is from Great Britain, coached the Canadian men's eight to a gold at the 2002 World Rowing Championships. It was the first major international win for the men's heavyweight eight since the 1992 Olympics when Spracklen also coached the Canadians to gold.
"It's great to have received this award. I know it must have been difficult to make this decision," Spracklen, who lives in Victoria, B.C., said upon receiving the award. Canadian head coach Brian Richardson was also nominated in this category.
The medal for 2002 FISA Male Rower or Crew of the Year was awarded to the World Champion men's pair of James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent from Great Britain. As they could not be present, James Cracknell wrote on behalf of Matthew and himself "we are very honoured to be the inaugural winners of this award."
Single sculler Rumyana Neykova of Bulgaria was present in Milan to receive the 2002 FISA Female Rower or Crew of the Year award. The new mother from Sofia rowed to a gold medal and set a new world best time in the women's single at the 2002 World Rowing Championships. The athlete was delighted to receive this awards said: "I'm very grateful for receiving this award, but I would also like to thank all the people who have helped and supported me: my coach, my club, my federation and all the people who have supported me." The award was presented by Canadian Tricia Smith, chair of the FISA women's commission.
FISA president Denis Oswald presented the 2002 FISA Distinguished Service to Rowing Award to master boatbuilder Klaus Filter of Germany. Filter is the former chairman of the FISA materials commission as well as being driving force behind the FISA boat collection program.
The medals were presented during the gala dinner that concluded the three-day World Rowing Forum held in Milan, Italy.