Swimming sensation Alice up for international sport award

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Alice Tai has been recognised for her awesome 2019 competing in the pool

SEVEN-TIME Paralympic gold medal-winning swimming sensation Alice Tai is the running for a prestigious international award.

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The star, who hails from New Milton, has been named among the final six of the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability category in the Laureus World Sports awards.

The nominees were decided during voting by 1,000 journalists from global media outlets that are members of Laureus, which promotes sport by running more than 160 community programmes in more than 40 countries.

“I’m absolutely honoured to have been nominated for this Laureus Sports Award,” Alice, an MBE, said. “There are only six nominees in total out of all athletes in Paralympic sports worldwide, so to be considered as one of the top six athletes of 2019 is insane!”

Alice, who is 20 and learnt to swim when she was a member of the New Milton Seagulls Swimming Club, had an outstanding 2019.

Alice with the S8 100m freestyle gold she won at the World Para Swimming Championships in London.

She scooped seven golds at the World Para-Swimming Championships in London and set a world record time in the 800m backstroke event – making her the most successful athlete at the games.

Over the 12 months Alice scooped four individual world records across the 12 months and became the first para-swimmer to win the British Swimming Athlete of the Year crown at the British Swimming Awards.

Alice, a former pupil at Bournemouth Collegiate School, is now based in the capital with Ealing Swimming Club and has set her sights on competing at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

She will fight out her Laureus award category against Cuba’s Omara Durand, the world’s fastest female Paralympian in 2019, and Dutch wheelchair tennis star Diede de Groot.

New Milton’s Alice Tai with two awards she picked up at the British Swimming Awards

Also in the running are US Paralympic skier and cyclist Oksana Masters, Dutch para-cyclist and para-triathlete Jetze Plat and Swiss marathon star and T54 800m world record breaker Manuela Schär.

It is the 20th anniversary of the Laureus awards, which bills itself as the premier honours on the international sporting calendar.

They feature seven categories, including sportsman and woman of the year, best team, breakthrough, comeback and also world action sportsperson.

Alice joins a litany of high-profile teams and individuals nominated, such as Liverpool FC, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton, Megan Rapinoe and gymnastics sensation Simone Biles.

A Laureus Awards spokesperson added: “The winners, as voted for by the 68 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be unveiled at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on 17th February.

“It was at the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000 that Laureus Patron, Nelson Mandela, spoke the words which sparked the creation of the worldwide Sport for Good movement.

“Twenty years on, these words still guide Laureus today – ‘Sport has the power to change the world, to unite people in a way little else does’. From sports stars to sports fans and the young people in Laureus Sport for Good programmes around the world, sport unites us.”

For more information visit laureus.com/world-sports-awards and follow #Laureus20 on social platforms.

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